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The Turn of 
the Road 


Eugenia Brooks Frothingham 



(Cbe RitoetjsiDe re$#, Cambribfle 














X. DAN'S LIGHTS GO OUT .... 128 





XVI. Too LATE 195 




XX. DR. DAVAGE AGAIN .... 226 




Chapter I 


THE June air was full of sunshine and the 
rapturous singing of bobolink and thrush. 
In the fields was a gay riot of wild flowers. 

Winifred sang with careless, joyous passion as 
she walked in the garden between flaming poppy 

"Sweetheart, thy lips are touched with flame" 

The clear young voice rang out gloriously. She 
flung her head back with a gesture of joyous aban- 
donment, and her song rose higher in restless, 
swinging measures : 

" Sweetheart, the blood leaps in thy cheek ; 
Sweetheart, thy very heart-throbs speak; 
Her voice ceased suddenly as her eyes met those 



of some one who leaned over the garden gate, 
watching her with amused admiration. 

" Dan ! " she exclaimed, " I did n't know I was 
singing to you." 

"I was daring to hope you did," he answered 
with ready audacity, as he vaulted over the gate 
and joined her. 

The flush in her face faded quickly, and she 
shook hands, with a laugh. In his level lips and 
steady eyes her mirth found no response, which 
was rare. Before speaking he hesitated, which 
was rarer still. He remembered certain documents 
in a green bag he carried, which would take the 
happy confidence out of her young life. He was 
unaccustomed to be the bearer of bad news ; more- 
over, he loved this girl with the passion of his 
youth, with the strength of his manhood, and from 
the depths of his soul. So he hesitated, not know- 
ing how to tell her, and the shadow deepened on 
his face. 

Winifred looked perplexed. 

"You are worried, or something," she said 
lightly. " I am sure it is the fault of the green 
bag, and I don't blame you. Drop it behind the 
lilac bush, and come and see my roses." 

Dan ignored the words. " I have news for you," 
he said. 



"News for me?" questioned Winifred. "It is 
bad news," she added quickly. 

" Yes, bad news." 

She looked at him for a moment in displeased 

" I know what it is : the will has been found, 
and papa has left half our money to a home for 
aged ladies and trade unions." She smiled, half 
bitterly, half contemptuously. 

"No will has been found," he answered her 
gravely, and they walked to the house through the 
brilliant garden. 

Winifred looked a sombre young figure in her 
black dress, with her masses of dark hair, and a 
seriousness on her face as rare as it was striking. 
Her personality was too strong and independent to 
be wholly feminine, nor was she a girl the average 
man would love or be happy in loving. An affair 
with her would involve elements of doubt and fear 
doubt of winning her, fear of her restive power 
when won. 

The man who walked beside her now, with the ob- 
stinate chin and daring eyes, neither doubted the one 
nor feared the other. He had loved her since they 
were boy and girl, and as desire and possession were 
synonymous terms in his vocabulary he had vowed 
within himself to win her. As yet his confidence 


seemed somewhat misplaced, and it was in this con- 
nection that his best friend had been known to say, 
" Howard is a man who should fail in something, 
lest he grow to fancying himself omnipotent." 

There was no arrogance now in the eyes that 
looked down into hers ; only a grave, protective 

" Win," he began, when they were seated on the 
broad veranda, " you must prepare yourself for a 
great blow. I don't ask you to be brave, for I know 
you can never be anything else." He paused. Her 
eyes, questioning but fearless, met his. 

"You remember," he went on, "that last week 
we found a clue to the whereabouts of your father's 
safety vault, and you gave me your written per- 
mission to open it. I did so yesterday, and found 
only worthless bonds, some few certificates of good 
stock, and records of vast sales of property made 
during the last years of his life, when he seems to 
have lived entirely on his principal. This was al- 
most exhausted at the time of his death." 

Winifred was pale, but her eyes did not falter. 
"How much is left ? " she asked. 

" Enough to yield you and Edith about fifteen 
hundred a year." 

"And the extravagant improvements made on 
the place last winter?" 



" They were done on credit." 

" And there was no credit ? " 

" There was no credit." 

She drew in her breath quickly. 

" Of course we must pay the money back at once, 
if we starve for it. Oh, it is shameful shameful." 
A flush half of anger, half of pain, came into her 
face. She rose, and leaning on the balustrade 
looked out on the sunlight and flowers. Dan 
tramped up and down the piazza noisily. He 
wanted very much to swear. 

" So we are poor," she said wonderingly, trying 
to adjust her thoughts to the fact. " We are poor 
and in debt." Here was a very tangible, prac- 
tical fact. She flushed again. 

Dan sat down astride of a chair and folded his 
arms on the back. 

" The place ought to bring fifty thousand," he 
said practically. " That would more than pay all 
you owe, and leave something to invest. Walter 
should see to it for you." 

Winifred flung out her strong young arms with 
an impatient gesture. " How Aunt Betsy and 
Uncle Charles will moan over and pity us ! I feel 
my temper rising in anticipation. I have had so 
much pity during the past weeks that I can't stand 
another ounce of it." 



She paused, and a swift change came into her 
face and voice. 

" Dan, I want to tell you something something 
that I am more ashamed of than of anything else 
in the world something " She hesitated ; 
there was almost a tremor on her lips. 

"Yes, Win; out with it," came Dan's deep 
voice. His lips were commendably grave, but in 
his eyes was amused incredulity. 

" I want to tell you because because I want 
you to know me just as I am, and because I feel I 
am not honest in taking sympathy from you when 
I don't need it, and because now that this wrong of 
father's has come to us I may say things." 

" Yes, Win." 

Her face was white, but she went on hurriedly : 
"Every one thought, because I did not lose my 
head or cry at the time of father's death, that I 
was strong and proud, but broken-hearted. I was 
not. I mean I did not really grieve for one single 

" I knew it, dear." 

"You knew it?" she asked in astonishment. 
" Then how can you go on caring, if you know 
me so well ? Oh, you can't think of the shame I felt 
when they all kissed and cried over me and called 
me a brave girl! How ashamed I felt when I 


thought of father, and how he loved me best ! Of 
course I was fond of him and missed him dread- 
fully, but it was not love and it was not grief. I 
know that very well ; I know what they both must 
be, though I can't seem really to love any one in the 
whole world. Only a little while after he died, I was 
thinking with part of me that it was good to be free, 
so that I could go abroad and study singing." Her 
eyes were dark with remorseful passion. " Dan, 
why don't you tell me you despise me ? Why 
don't you say something ? " 

" I can never say less than this to you, dear," he 
answered, and taking her hand in his kissed it re- 
verently. Then he went on in his deep, rich voice 
while he kept her hand : " Whether you love or 
not, you are always the bravest, truest woman in 
the world, the one prize in life most worth win- 
ning. Some day you will love, and so well that it 
is worth while losing the lesser love of a thousand 
lesser women for the chance of winning you and 

For the moment he was holding her in the spell 
of his eyes and words. She did not withdraw her 

" Dan," she almost whispered, " can't you make 
me love you?" 

" Yes, dear, some day I shall find the way." 


Her being was vibrating with a hint of something 
strange, and strong, and madly sweet, but it was 
only a hint. Fortunately Dan knew this. 

He knew that her powerful nature was crude as 
yet ; that she must come up to many of her mile- 
stones and discover their small value before she 
would pause and hearken to the deep whisperings 
of life and love. Some of her lamps must be put 
out before she could see the stars. 

The light died quickly in her eyes, and she with- 
drew her hand and nature from him. There was 
a rushing in his ears, and for an instant the sun- 
light looked red; but he controlled himself, and 
forced his voice to a steady if constrained quiet, 
while he discussed with her such commonplace 
details as the placing of property, the payment 
of debts, and the adjustment of living expenses 
to a reduced income. He even brought her to in- 
vestigate certain contents of the green bag, and 
explained technical points with praiseworthy steadi- 
ness, while she leaned over his shoulder. 

When there came a pause she looked at him 
quizzically and somewhat doubtfully. The color 
had come back to her face and the confidence to 
her bearing. 

" Of course you know what I am going to do," 
she said, a suppressed excitement in her voice. 


" Yes," answered Dan, bending his head over the 
papers he held. 

" Now don't spoil it by objecting. Besides, ob- 
jecting won't do the smallest good." 

" I am not objecting. Have you any idea how 
soon you start ? " 

" Just as soon as I can settle estates, debts, and 
so forth, here. That ought to be by early autumn, 
don't you think so ? It must be early autumn. Oh, 
how blissful it will be, back in my dear Europe, 
free, and learning to be a great artist ! There is 
no reason why I should n't go on the stage now, and 
every reason why I should. Edith and I are poor, 
and I must make money for us both. I am glad 
we are poor do you hear me, Dan ? glad. The 
world shall be at my feet ; I shall have everything 
I want, and more more. Ah, it is glorious to 
think of. Dan, you don't know you don't know ! " 

Dan made no answer. She paced restlessly to 
and fro on the piazza. 

" I shall succeed," she went on "I know that. 
I was made for success, just as you were. Nature 
never cut me out for a mere paving stone. Why 
don't you say something ? Oh, how irritating you 
are ! Why don't you say you feel sure I shall suc- 
ceed ? " She stopped in front of him. 

" Because I don't feel sure of it," he answered. 


" Dan ! " She looked at him in wide-eyed aston- 
ishment and some displeasure. " How absurd ! 
Why don't you think so ? I should like to know 
simply for the sake of argument. Of course I don't 
really care what you think, because you don't know. 
You are a very clever lawyer, and have, I am told, 
exceptional powers of convincing juries of things 
they don't want to believe, that no reasonable per- 
son could believe, and that you probably don't be- 
lieve yourself ; but that does n't prove you know 
anything of the elements that go to make up a great 
singer. Now will you kindly tell me what I lack ? 
Have n't I voice ? " 


" And is n't it beautiful ? " 

" It is beautiful." 

" Well, then. Can't I act ? " 

" Up to a certain point." 

" Up to a certain point ? What do you mean by 

" I mean that you can act well up to a certain 

" So you said before." 

" I will say it again, if you wish." 

Winifred was irritated, Dan correspondingly 
amused. Then, with feminine tact, she carried her 
point by an appeal to his most vulnerable quarter. 


" Dan, please don't chaff. You know that, what- 
ever I say, I care for your opinion more than I do 
for any one else's. I really want to know what you 
think I lack." 

He was only softened within certain limits. 
" Well, then, I think you are crude. You cannot 
be great at any art till you put some of your life's 
blood into it, and you have n't been bled yet." 

" Oh, is that all ? " she said, with a sigh of relief. 
" Then I don't mind. Your words are only theory. 
I have temperament, and that anticipates all expe- 
rience of an emotional kind, lives it in the nerves 
and imagination. Musicians don't need to live; 
through music alone they learn all that is greatest 
of love and life." 

" That is only another theory," said Dan obsti- 
nately. " The proposition that temperament takes 
the place of and anticipates experience remains to 
be proved." 

" Proof ? Nonsense ! A woman does n't need 
proof. She knows." 

" Exactly," said Dan dryly, " she knows." 

" Well, what more do you want than knowing ? 
Dan, you are laughing at me ! " 

Then she laughed herself, with good-humored 
appreciation of his point of view, but went on imme- 
diately to express an unconscious sense of rebellion. 


" Of course, I might have known you would put 
all sorts of objections in the way. You think a 
woman ought to stay at home and make a home ; 
making a home means being troubled with pots and 
pans. You know very well I can't do that, and 
what do you want me to do ? I ask you to answer 
me reasonably what do you want me to do ? " 

This was a reckless question, and Dan answered 
as she might have known he would : 

" Marry me." 

She flushed and moved uneasily. " You know 
that is more impossible than anything else." Her 
voice dropped a little. " Please don't talk so any 
more. I mean, what do you expect me to do ? An 
unmarried woman has her choice of four things : 
society, charity, literary clubs, and melancholia. I 
don't feel inclined to any of those. There is one 
thing more : I can follow out some of papa's social- 
istic studies. I can think about the greatest good 
of the greatest number. I can have theories con- 
cerning the disposition of economic rent ; not that 
I could ever understand what economic rent was, 
but I suppose I could learn in time, as other people 
have. I could even form a woman's club for the 
propagation of my ideas, and write pamphlets, 

" God forbid ! " ejaculated Dan fervently. 


"Very well, then, what is the use in talking 
about it ? " 

" I can't imagine," he answered quietly, with a 
tormenting smile ; then he added more seriously : 
" Don't let us misunderstand each other any longer, 
Win. I can't say I am glad to have you go away 
and study for the stage ; but, all things consid- 
ered, I think you are doing the only thing you 
can do." 

" Then why could n't you have said so in the be- 
ginning ? " Winifred was only partly pacified. 

" In the first place you did n't give me a chance. 
Then I am usually so weak-minded with you that 
my self-respect now and then requires the stimulus 
of teasing you." He rose. " And now good-by. 
I have some work to do on an important case, when 
I must deal with a more than usually obstinate jury. 
Shall I put the estate into the hands of a broker ? 
I can see to it without troubling you to come up to 
town. No, don't thank me ; that is n't allowed, you 
know ; besides, it 's no trouble. I shall be down 
again in a day or two with some papers for you 
and Edith to sign. I hope the poor child will take 
the loss of her fortune as easily as you have done. 
Good-by again." 

Before she could speak he had gone. With sof- 
tening eyes she watched the retreating figure. 


" Dear old Dan ! " she said. " What should I do 
without him ? I suppose I ought to give him up, 
but I'm too selfish. Besides, he wouldn't go." 
She smiled with pride in his strength. 

Three months later Winifred and her sister were 
leaning over the side of an Atlantic liner, and 
watching idly the confusion of leave-taking and 
baggage-hunting going on between deck and wharf. 
There was only one more good-by to say ; then the 
great ocean the new life ! Winifred told herself 
she was jubilant, and held her head high. Her eyes 
were bright and her face pale. Edith's mouth was 
quivering, and her eyes were suspiciously red ; but 
she said nothing. Then Dan appeared from the 
cabin; his face looked worn, but he spoke with 
determined cheeriness. "There are your table 
seats," he said. " I have said a good word for you 
with the captain, and your fee will have due effect 
on the steward, I don't doubt. I wish you had felt 
like affording outside staterooms ; yours seem 
stuffy. Mrs. Smith thinks her berth is small, and 
said there was no place in the brackets for her 
cologne bottle. She is rather tearful ; but she will 
feel better in a day or so, I dare say. She is old, 
eminently respectable, and will let you have your 
own way ; so she possesses the essentials. Where 


are you putting your tickets ? That is n't safe. 
How will you ever learn to take care of your 
things ? Fold them this way see." 

"Yes," said Winifred with unusual meekness, 
" I think I understand. They are almost as hard 
to fold as time-tables. There, Dan, that 's the bell 
for you to go. Please go it makes me nervous. 
I hate saying good-by. Please go now they 
are taking up the gangway." 

" That 's all right," said Dan coolly. " I made 
arrangements to go on with you a bit and take the 
tug back. You don't look as pleased as you ought 
to, to hear it. Edith, you look tired. Has n't the 
headache gone ? " 

"No. I think I should like to lie down, if I 
could find my chair." 

There was a little catch in Edith's voice, for a 
strip of green water was widening between them 
and home. 

" Your chair is here. It 's a little windy now, 
but when we get out more to sea the breeze will 
be on the other side. I arranged it on purpose. 
Here are the shawls ; let me undo them and spread 
one on the chair before you sit down. They are 
first cousins to gridirons, these chairs, but you can 
circumvent them with practice. Is that all right ? 
Shan't I open your umbrella? There is nothing 


like an umbrella for keeping off wind. Now are 
you comfortable ? " 

" Yes, thank you. How kind you are ! You 
think of everything. I am sorry to reward you by 
crying. I know men hate it, but I can't help it." 

" That 's all right," said Dan kindly. " I like to 
see a woman cry sometimes." 

Then he went back to Winifred. He had never 
seen her cry. " We will walk," he said. " There 
are one or two things I want to say to you. We 
may not see each other again for a long time." 

*' I know, Dan," she broke in hurriedly ; " I have 
something to say also. I meant to write it, but 
that 's because I am a coward. I think I had better 
say it now. First, I want to thank you oh, but I 
can't thank you enough for all you have done, when 
I think what you give me, and what I " 

" Stop there, Win. I don't want thanks, and 
I don't want reward, even supposing I deserved 
either. To serve you is and must always be " 
He paused, and closed his lips firmly on the words 
in his heart. The strain of prolonged leave-taking 
was wearing on his nerves. 

" That is just what I have been thinking about," 

Winifred went on. " Things can't go on as they 

are. You are too good a man for some woman to 

miss. Your love is too precious to be poured out 



before some one like me, who I was just think- 
ing now, when I saw you taking care of Edith, that 
I have somehow missed the right angle of woman- 

" You will find it," he broke in. 

" Don't make it hard for me," she continued; "I 
am not the kind that loves and marries. I am go- 
ing away forever, perhaps, and this is the moment 
for us to say good-by ; our friendship must end. I 
can't ever forget you I don't think I shall ever 
find any one to take your place ; but it is best 
it must be. I don't want you to write to me ; I 
shall not write you. I want you to put me out of 
your life " Her voice had grown so very low 
that Dan bent his head to listen. 

When she paused, he smiled. 

" That reminds me," he said, " you have n't given 
me the address of your pension in Paris. I may 
write there instead of to the bank. I shall expect 
a letter from you once a month at least, and if you 
ever write me such nonsense as you have just 
spoken, I shall be obliged to cross the ocean at once 
and marry you against your will." 

Winifred drew a deep breath and then laughed 
a short, low laugh that had something of tri- 
umph in it. She gave him a whimsical sidelong 



" I do like your combativeness, Dan," she said. 

" Did you dream for the shadow of a second that 
I would let you go ? " he asked. 

" I don't know ; I tried to believe it, because I 
know it 's right that you should." 

" But you did n't want to believe it ? " 

" No. I should miss you more than any one." 

" Thank you, Win." 

For a while they walked in silence. Most of the 
passengers were in their staterooms, and the deck 
was deserted. The great steamer began to throb 
rhythmically to her depths with a mighty life of 
steam and steel. The wind from out of the sea 
came to meet them, and its first greeting thrilled 
mournfully in the rigging. 

Dan kept his eyes on the watery horizon. There 
were deepening lines round his mouth, and his face 
looked older than his years. Win easily kept pace 
with his swinging stride ; but there was an odd 
hollow feeling at her heart. She shivered and drew 
her cloak about her, wishing that Dan were gone. 

He turned at her movement. " You don't look 
right," he said; "surely this motion is not too 
much ? " 

"No, but I don't feel altogether natural. I 
very much suspect, Dan, I very much suspect that 
I don't like saying good-by to you." She smiled 


as she spoke, with a full, candid look into his 

Dan stooped to fasten her cloak. "Let us sit 
down," he said. And then, during the time that 
remained, he spoke to her only of his love spoke 
passionately, tenderly, powerfully always, with a 
certain sturdy eloquence entirely his own. Wini- 
fred listened in silence, and was moved as only he 
had power to move her ; but she did not answer 
him, and kept a pale face turned to the sea. 
When a shrill, discordant whistle surprised them, 
and a tug appeared suddenly under their bows, she 

" It 's the tug ! " she cried. 

"Yes." Dan wheeled about and caught her 
hands. " Dearest, one word more. You don't 
know what you are going to, what temptations you 
are going to have. But whatever comes to you, 
however you are tempted, however you yield you 
don't know what I am talking about, but you will 
learn too soon I am ready to be at your side to 
take your part against the world ; for whether you 
ever love me or not, you will always be the greatest 
thing in the world to me, the greatest happiness, 
the greatest pain the Alpha and Omega of all 
my life. Never forget this : whatever danger threat- 
ens, whatever happens, never forget to say, ' Dan 


loves me for better, for worse.' Promise to re- 
member that, dear. * Dan loves me for better, for 
worse, and is always there when I need him.' " 

" Oh, I am not worth it I am not I can't 
give it back." 

" That is my affair. Promise me, Win." 

" Yes, Dan." 

A warning cry came from the tug. 

" Good-by, my love good-by." 

" Don't forget," he called up to her from where 
he swung on the ladder, halfway down the steamer's 

"No. Oh, Dan, good-by good-by." 

Chapter II 


WHEN Dan went back to his room that night, 
Walter Garrison, the friend he lived with, 
looked at him doubtfully over the edge of the 
" Transcript." 

" Why were n't you at your office this morning ? " 
he asked. 

Dan rolled a cigarette in silence. "Can you 
give me a light ? " he said finally ; and that was 
the only answer Walter received, and the last time 
he asked that particular question. 

Walter Garrison was Dan's most intimate friend, 
which means that they shared the same apartment, 
breakfasted and dined together, spoke little, held 
opposite views on nearly everything concerning 
this life or the next, and would have cheerfully cut 
off their right arm for each other, if such a sacri- 
fice had seemed beneficial. 

Dan always said that Walter had been born 
several centuries too late. If he could have lived 
in the time when all ladies were fair and all men 


were brave, and when evil was a thing to be fought 
with a spotless name and silver armor, he would 
have made his mark. As it was, he dealt in cor- 
poration paper and collateral loans, wore the un- 
picturesque garb of the nineteenth century, and, 
concealing his sensitiveness and chivalry under a 
rough beard and a slow manner, passed as a very 
commonplace young man indeed. 

The friendship between the two men began in 
their boyhood on the mutual discovery of a good 
place for finding angleworms ; it had lasted through 
the rough-edged gladness of college life, and it held 
fast in their early manhood, though Walter was a 
struggling note broker, and Dan the most success- 
ful lawyer of his age in the State, and though there 
was the name of a woman which could never be 
mentioned between them. 

During the days at Harvard they had roomed 
together as they did now. The arrangement had 
been mutually satisfactory in spite of difference of 
temperament and belief. Dan read Plato, while 
Walter went to church. Dan loved such diverging 
possibilities as the classics and football ; he was 
aggressive in both. Walter plodded through the 
average college courses, and preferred rowing to 
the strenuous wrestling of football fields ; he was 
aggressive in nothing. Dan was confident with 


what his enemies called " confounded arrogance," 
and his friends considered "splendid audacity." 
He thought with lightning-like speed and power, 
but Walter's mind moved slowly and obstinately ; 
his ideas were more easily formed than changed. 

It was in his Junior year that Dan one day 
rescued Winifred from drowning, and discovered 
while bearing her to the shore that he loved her. 
He told her so before her hair had time to dry, and 
though she did not laugh, she treated the matter 
lightly and reproached him for having spoiled their 
fun. Then Dan went back to college with an added 
doggedness of jaw, and spent hours in silences that 
were never satisfactorily explained. 

During the years that followed he laid his best 
at her feet, and she learned to accept it as a 
matter of course. There were times when he grew 
restive and claimed impossible things, when his 
words made her cheek burn and his eyes shamed 
her light indifference ; but Winifred's spirit was 
cool and free ; she defied him easily. 

So Dan went hungry through his early manhood, 
and about his mouth there came lines that do not 
belong to youth. 

Walter disliked Winifred ; she was too self- 
assertive, and according to his views there must be 
something wrong about a girl who did not return 


Dan's love. He hoped her departure for Europe 
and intention to go on the stage would end Dan's 
hopes and desires, but asked no questions. 

And Dan was not forgetting. His working hours 
were troubled with visions of Winifred imprudently 
going with wet feet in a new climate, and commit- 
ting hygienic offenses against which there was no 
one to warn her. He wrote pages of instructions, 
and to her amused protestations he agreed, adding, 
" But you see I had rather the world begged than 
that you should want for a glove." 

Winifred, on her side, was rapidly learning care 
of herself, and other singers' lessons of renounced 
freedom, limited amusement, and general slavery to 
the condition of vocal cords. 

" Whoever could think you would submit to all 
these precautions, Win?" said Edith, when her 
sister wrapped her throat in scarfs and refused to 
go out damp evenings. " Have you written Dan 
that you have given up talking except on state 
occasions ? " 

" That is only when I have a cold," protested 

" It seems to me you have colds very often ; 
you never used to have them. Perhaps it's the 



" No, I am afraid it 's just because they 're so 
inconvenient now." 

" I hope it will all come out right," sighed Edith. 

" It must come out right," said Winifred. 

" What must ? " asked a third voice from the 

Edith welcomed the visitor cordially, inwardly 
asking herself why Kate always seemed ill or un- 
happy ; Winifred indifferently, and wondering why 
she could never like her. 

Kate Randolph possessed that " elegant super- 
ficiality " which is the graceful mask of women of 
the world. It would be difficult to tell what she 
thought on any subject whatsoever, or if she thought 
at all. A shallow woman, people called her 
dainty, exquisite, patrician, thinking little, feeling 
less, and one to whom a crime would be easier 
than an act of bad taste. But there were her eyes 
which could not be accounted for large, dark, 
hungry eyes, that had no right to be in that deli- 
cate face, and that gave the lie to her thin lips. 
Moreover, there were whispers about Kate to which 
no one gave open credence, because she was Kath- 
erine Randolph, and the name of Randolph could 
cover a multitude of sins ; but it was suspected 
that Kate had been responsible for Jack Sunder- 


land's going wrong, and her best friends could not 
defend her treatment of Lord de Normandy. That 
she was untruthful no one attempted to deny, and 
she was worldly ; but public opinion was her con- 
science, so she would keep straight if it were not 
for those eyes. 

" What must come right ? " she repeated, when 
greetings were over. " If Winifred says it must, 
it will ; but what is it ? " Kate handled her words 

" It 's the voice," explained Edith. " Winifred 
does not think things are going well." 

" Oh, I am so sorry ! " exclaimed Kate. " I was 
looking forward to hearing you." 

Winifred smiled an irritating smile, delicately 
suggestive of incredulity. 

" You do not believe me ? " Kate's eyes changed 
suddenly till they overweighted the flower-like face, 
and the effect, coming as it did in the midst of her 
light chatter, was almost startling. Edith won- 
dered why it was that Kate so often looked at 
Winifred in this way. 

Winifred's eyes had met Kate's with an expres- 
sion of cool inquiry. " I did n't know you were 
fond of music." 

" I wish I were not," said Kate ; " it makes 


"You surely don't mean cry?" interrupted 

" No, it makes me wish I could. It makes me 
think of everything I am not, and reminds me of 
all I want to forget. So you see how very much I 
must have wanted to hear you sing." 

Kate never laughed ; but she smiled now, and 
the smile and ease of her last words contradicted 
the sudden weariness of her first. 

" Winifred has a strange effect upon her," re- 
flected Edith. " When they are together she looks 
at no one else, and yet I always feel that she dis- 
likes her." 

" I doubt if Win will ever be able to sing to any 
one," she said aloud ; " and if she does, it won't be 
before one or both of us have had melancholia. You 
cannot imagine how discouraging it is, Kate. She 
is always taking cold, which means two weeks with- 
out a lesson, and now, just as she was becoming ac- 
climated, she finds that What was it you found, 
Win ? You were telling me when Kate came in." 

"I seem to be singing wrong," said Winifred, 
forgetting her guest in gloomy preoccupation. " I 
could n't take a high C yesterday." 

" Must she have a high C ? " asked Kate inno- 

" She says she must," said Edith. 


" Of course I must," replied Winifred, with some 
impatience. " There is n't a grand opera in the 
world that has n't a high C in it. A prima donna 
without a high C ! Why, you might as well think 
of a nightingale without a trill." 

" You see, it 's a very grave matter," explained 
Edith. " Everything about singing is a grave mat- 
ter. I am sure Win will lose her sense of humor. 
Did you ever hear of an opera singer with a sense 
of humor ? " 

Kate's experience in opera singers was limited, 
and they let the matter rest on Edith's assertion 
that humor was incompatible with care of, and de- 
pendence upon, vocal cords. 

Kate seemed to take more interest in the affair 
than the occasion required. 

" Perhaps you will have to give it up, and go 
home," she said suddenly. " Perhaps your voice 
cannot stand professional work." 

"Yes, it can," answered Winifred resentfully. 
" My voice is splendidly strong by nature, but I 
am being badly taught. I am not sure about the 
chest or head tones, but I know my middle is 

" Your middle is back ? " repeated Edith help- 
lessly. " Win, dear, I hate to seem stupid, but 
what do you mean by your middle's being back?" 


" I mean that my middle tones are not forward 
enough," explained Winifred, with some impa- 

" What does she mean by a tone's being forward 
or back? "asked Kate. 

" I don't know," sighed Edith. " It is as bad 
as learning to talk golf." 

Winifred tried to explain, but her audience was 
stupid and possibly uninterested. 

" I cannot help feeling that it is all wasted time," 
said Edith inconsequently. " I do not mean the 
explanation, but your studying for the stage. We 
have been here over six months, and I don't see 
that much has been accomplished besides the loss 
of a high C. If this goes on much longer, I shall 
write Dan myself and tell him the truth. It is just 
possible that he might bring you to reason." 

No one looking at Kate in that moment could 
have noticed anything except her eyes, and these 
eyes, dilating and darkening, were fixed upon 
Winifred's face. 

"And I will tell him how imprudent you are 
about going out alone," continued Edith. " Win 
never thought of such a thing as prudence in her 
life," she added, addressing Kate, "and if she 
were beautiful she would have been in trouble more 
than once. Don't look surprised ! She knows she 


is not beautiful, and does n't mind at all ; do you, 

Winifred smiled. " I never think of it," she 

Then Kate spoke with a bitterness that was like 
the escape of a hidden flame. 

" If you were the most beautiful woman in the 
world, you would n't care ! " she exclaimed. " If 
you had the greatest gift in the world, and the 
greatest love in the world, still you would n't care ! " 

Winifred looked out of the window and beyond 
the housetops to the clouds. There was a look of 
far-away things in her eyes, and her face was 
shaded with that gravity which Dan loved so well 
to see there. 

"I wonder if you are not partly right?" she 

Kate watched her with tightening lips. " Now 
I know why he loves her," she told herself. " She 
has something most of us lack she is worthy of 
him. How I hate her ! " 

Then Kate took her leave with something less 
than her usual grace, and left Edith wondering 
over her abruptness, her odd outbursts of bitter- 
ness and passionate weariness. Kate did not ap- 
pear to the world like this. 

More self-absorbed than ever, Winifred relapsed 


into the surprised and somewhat indignant gloom 
with which she met these first checks in her career. 

" I wonder why she always seems to dislike you 
so much?" said Edith aloud. 

"I have sometimes suspected she didn't alto- 
gether like me," observed Winifred. 

" Sometimes suspected ! Good heavens, Win, if 
I did n't know you were a thousand times cleverer 
than I am, I should often say you were positively 
stupid ! " 


Chapter III 

MRS. RANDOLPH was awaiting her daugh- 
ter's return in the private parlor, au pre- 
mier, of the Hotel Westminster. Mrs. Randolph's 
face expressed a grievance, and Kate, when she 
entered, looked tired and restless. 

" Where have you been ? " asked her mother. 

Kate was conscious of the grievance and the 
cause of it, but she chose to ignore both. 

" I stopped at the Merediths'," she said lightly. 

"Ah, was that very disagreeable Winifred 
there ? " 

" That very disagreeable Winifred was there." 

"And you have missed a visit from Lord de 

" I supposed he would come, after his note. 
Are n't you going to give me some tea, mamma ? " 

The grievance was very evident now. " What 
note, Kate?" 

" One I received last night. I knew he would 


come this afternoon, and, as I did n't wish to see 
him, I went out." 

" You are a very selfish and a very ungrateful 
daughter," Mrs. Randolph said, with some excite- 

" I am sorry, mamma, but I cannot marry Lord 
de Normandy. What did he say? Was he try- 

" Lord de Normandy is a gentleman, my dear." 

" Gentlemen are sometimes trying. What did 
he say?" 

" He felt he had been badly treated, and he is 
justified in feeling so." 

" I don't see that feeling has anything to do with 
it, mamma. It 's merely a question of American 
gold versus a foreign title ; and it all happened a 
long time ago." 

" We talked the affair over, and I could not de- 
fend you, though you are my own child," continued 
Mrs. Randolph. " When it came to your promis- 
ing to marry him one morning, and taking back 
your word that very evening, for a mere whim 
really, Kate " 

" I behaved badly, but I could n't help it," said 
Kate in a low voice of growing intensity. 

" Nonsense, my dear ; you speak like a child. 


He could not be persuaded that you had not seen 
some one during his absence who had influenced 
you. I told him you were alone all the afternoon, 
but I remembered afterwards that some one had 
been sitting in the garden with you. I think it 
was Dan." 

" It was Dan," said Kate. 

" Yes, it comes back to me now, for you sat on 
the grass in your new white muslin, and ruined it. 
I remember the whole circumstance. Dan laughed 
when I was annoyed, and said sitting on the grass 
under apple blossoms was good for the soul, or 
something equally ridiculous." 

" I remember," said Kate. 

" Well, my child, it was all a great mistake, and 
I only hope you will think things over carefully, for 
Lord de Normandy dines with us to-morrow." 

"That is as you like, mamma; but I cannot 
marry Lord de Normandy. I shall not marry any 
one. I had better say this now, so that we may 
avoid more trouble. I tried hard to marry him, 
and I meant to do so, until he came in the evening 
after that that afternoon, you remember, and 
then I knew it was of no use to try any longer. I 
cannot marry." 

Kate's face was pale, and certainly she was 
growing very odd. Her mother realized it with 


resentment, intensified by the sense of her helpless- 

"You are mad, Kate," she said. "You are 
mad and reckless." 

" I should be worse if I married." 

" Kate ! For what have I brought you into the 

" I don't know, mamma. I often wonder." 

In her own room Kate flung herself face down- 
ward on the bed. 

" Winifred does not care," she said. " She has 
what no other woman has, and does n't know it. 
Some day she will find out what the world is worth, 
and what the other is worth, and then " Kate 
turned wearily on her side. " I wish I could cry," 
she said. 


Chapter IV 


rwas two years later. Madame Alberto's class 
was drawing to a close, and Winifred was sing- 
ing. The other pupils were seated about the room, 
silent, attentive, their faces expressing various 
degrees of wonder and reluctant admiration. Ma- 
dame Alberto stood with her baton in her hand. 

" (Test une voix pa," she said in an aside to her 
pupils. The tone implied that theirs were not 
voices ; but they felt compelled to nod smilingly. 

Winifred, with her height, her distinction, her 
talent, was queen among them, and wore the crown 
as lightly and carelessly as all else that came to 

She stood now with her hands loosely clasped, 
her dark eyes on the treetops seen through the 
window, and sang on, indifferent alike to their 
jealousy or admiration. The aria chosen was from 
an Italian opera ; it was not beautiful music, but 
it charmed the senses, and confused the critical 
power with a perfume, a suavite, a passionate, 


sensuous sweetness, that the old Italian masters 
alone had at their command. She sang with the 
highly colored art of the Italian school, and her 
voice bewildered the listeners with its brilliancy 
and purity. The cheapness of the musical climax 
was forgotten in the wonder of its execution. One 
listened, breathless, to the working up of common- 
place cadences that led to the inevitable high note, 
and compelled applause. 

Madame looked at Winifred critically. 

" The voice is glorious ; you have rare intelli- 
gence. Your method is my own ; mais il y a 
quelque chose qui manque id." Madame pointed 
to her heart. 

It was the old story, and Winifred frowned with 
helpless impatience. 

" I have it," cried Madame suddenly: "you must 
fall in love. I do not say une grande passion, but 
un petit sentiment, just to fire the temperament, 
put tears in the voice. Take Bordeaux, now " 
Madame pointed to the accompanist, a little man 
with black hair and mustache " take Bordeaux, 
for instance ; he has been casting eyes at you this 
long time." 

There was a general laugh at this. 

" It is only for Mademoiselle to say," Bordeaux 
replied gallantly. 



Winifred just lifted her eyes to his, and then 
put her music together with an expression of cold 
disgust on her face. The vulgar brutality of the 
suggestion would have angered her had she not felt 
so immeasurably above it. 

Madame's expression became one of displeasure. 

" Sapristi I You Americans are intolerable. 
Wait till you are on the stage, and see if it is easy 
to keep the airs of an empress." 

" The next lesson is at ten, is it not ? " Winifred 
asked quietly, meeting many pairs of disapproving 
eyes with her cool New England gaze. There was 
even a smile on her lips as she left the room with 
brief words of farewell. She knew she had made 
an eternal enemy of Bordeaux, and that her fellow 
pupils had been enemies from the first, but these 
facts were beneath her notice. 

As she walked home on the shady side of the 
well-known lane that led from Madame Alberto's 
villa to her own lodgings, she remembered that 
Dan was coming in a day or two ; and as it was by 
his annual visits that she measured her progress 
on the road to fame, she thought over in detail the 
occurrences of the past few months. There had 
been much success, and no actual failure ; but her 
serene confidence in herself was becoming troubled. 
As Madame had said, something was lacking. 


While it had been a question of mere study, she 
had held the first place ; but now it was a question 
of artistic completion, and there were those with- 
out her voice or intelligence who were pleasing the 
managers that passed her by. Winifred frowned 
at the thought, but held her head defiantly high. 
Her eyes expressed indignation and surprise, but 
no discouragement. 

A few days later Dan came. She was unfeign- 
edly glad to see him. 

" Dan is coming to-day, to-day, 
Dan is coming to-day," 

she caught herself singing on the morning of his 
expected arrival. " How do you suppose he will 
look ? It is ages and ages since I have seen him. 
I wonder if he will find me changed ? And will 
he like my singing ? But of course he can't help 

" Really, Win, you are growing insufferably 
conceited. I hope he will not and will you 
either go out of the room or stop talking. I 
have n't been allowed to write a straight sentence 
during the last half hour." 

" I am going out to sit on the doorsteps in the 
sun," said Winifred. " Sitting on the doorsteps is 
a solace for all the ills of existence." 


It was there that Dan found her, and, possessing 
himself of both her hands, devoured her with his 
eyes in a silence that she dared not break. In the 
strong face, almost haggard with eagerness, that 
bent above hers, she read what made her life seem 

" You are the same," he said at last, " only a 
little grave just now." 

" You make me so, Dan," she answered very 
low, not trying to withdraw her hands. Then, with 
her face raised to his, " You have changed. You 
look as if you had been fighting battles, and con- 

He smiled. " The hardest fight is still to be lost 
or won," he told her. 

With one accord they turned and walked through 
the village street, and beyond to the sunny, windy 
hillside. Winifred spoke of her hopes, her plans, 
and a thousand details of her life, while he listened 
eagerly, scolding her now and then, as was his 
wont, but generally silent in the strong joy of 
being near her. When she talked of her career, 
Dan noticed little lines between her eyebrows that 
did not belong to the Win of old. 

" Something is wrong," he told himself ; and 
very soon she reluctantly confessed. 

" I would not acknowledge it to any one in the 


world but you," she said, " but it is not as easy as 
it seemed ; there is something lacking, not in my 
gifts, but in me." 

Dan generously refrained from saying, " I told 
you so." 

" I can command admiration, but I cannot cap- 
ture enthusiasm, except by a high note every now 
and then. The public don't know much, but they 
do know when their hearts are touched, and I can- 
not reach their hearts." 

She sighed impatiently, and Dan wondered if 
the years were not taking her further from him. 

" If you loved your art for its own sake, I should 
feel better about it all," he said. " But you care 
only for such power and success as you can get out 
of it, not for anything you can put in." 

" That is true," assented Winifred unexpectedly. 
" Art is not spelt with a big A for me. But I do 
want the success." 

" And what do you expect to get from the suc- 

" I do not know ; but I am going to find out," 
she said, with a confident ring to her voice, and a 
glance of amused defiance at the man by her side. 
Then she sighed suddenly. 

" The other day a little girl came to the class," 
she continued : " she was plain and ordinary, her 


voice had neither volume nor range ; but when she 
sang I can't describe it, but the pupils were in 
tears, and Madame Madame herself could not 
speak, and in her face one read all the might- 
have-beens. Think of it, Dan that hardened old 

" Did you cry ? " questioned Dan. 

She shook her head. " No ; but I felt so many 
things that it was some time before I remembered 
to wonder why I could n't move people so." 

" You must be moved yourself first." 

"That is trite, Dan." 

" I know ; but it 's true." 

Winifred set her lips. " I believe there is an- 
other way." 

"Very well; find it if you can. Don't look 
alarmed ; I am not going to recommend myself as 
a medicine, or love as a means to an end. But 
you are crude still. Some day an awakening will 
come, and you must suffer." 

" Other people have become great artists without 
great experience," she persisted. 

"Were they New Englanders? Were reserve 
and self-restraint the watchwords of their natures ? 
You, of all women I know, were born and nurtured 
amidst ice-fields and granite. Your real nature has 
the depth and stillness and mystery of the northern 


night. You have given me glimpses of it now and 
then, but as a rule it is as difficult for you to 
express real self as it is for any man. When ice- 
fields melt, the floods are so great that nothing can 
stand before them ; but in the meantime don't be 
surprised that you cannot express yourself in arie 
and ballads." 

Winifred thought deeply, with troubled brows. 

" But I am not convinced," she said. 

" I suppose not. You think I am talking fanci- 
fully. Please remember that I am a hard-headed 
lawyer ; facts and logic are my livelihood, so when 
I choose to come down, or up, whichever you will, 
to metaphor, I do not do so without reason, and 
am entitled to respect. You will know that I am 
right some day." 

Dan's visit was a short one, but he made the 
best of it. Madame Alberto obligingly took to 
her bed with a cold, and singing lessons were sus- 

" Why did n't Mr. Garrison come with you ? I 
think he said something to Edith about joining us 
again this summer," asked Winifred once. 

Dan looked at her suddenly. " Did he, though ? " 
he exclaimed. " He said nothing to me of it. 
Were they especially good friends last year ? " 

" I never noticed," said Winifred. " Yes, they 


were together a good deal; but I don't think it 
meant anything." 

" I am not sure of that," said Dan. " In the 
dim ages before Walter saw the light of this planet, 
a woman must have buckled on his soul's armor. 
He has been unconsciously hunting for her all his 
life, and when he looks at your sister there is some- 
thing in his eyes which makes me think that he has 
found her now ! " 

" I never noticed it," said Winifred again. 

On the last day of his stay Dan became restive 
and hard to please. 

" Who is that Austrian beast on the other side 
of the street ? " he asked. " I don't like the way 
he looks at you. He has passed your house several 

Winifred colored angrily. "It must be von 
Reidnitz," she said. 

" And who is von Reidnitz ? " 

" One of Madame's pupils." 

" Why does he look at you ? " 

" I can't imagine can you ? " 

" Win, that man has annoyed you." 

" A little. Dan, don't look so." There was & 
furious gleam in his eyes. 

"The creature is following us; wait for me 



" Don't, don't what are you going to do ? " 

He strode back to von Reidnitz, and after a few 
words returned to Winifred with a slightly relieved 

"What did you say?" 

" I told him that if I heard of his troubling you 
again I should be unable to deny myself the plea- 
sure of dropping him into the lake." 

She laughed. " I am glad you said it ; but he 
is n't worth much disturbance." 

Rage was still in Dan's eyes. 

" To think that you you should subject 
yourself to things of this kind." 

" But they don't hurt me." 

He muttered something about a stain on a lily. 
Winifred raised her head proudly. "This stage 
life is hell," he went on. "A woman can't go 
through it and " 

" Stop, Dan ! " Her clear eyes met his without 
a tremor, and his anger fell. 

"I think I am a little ashamed of you," she 

" You don't understand," he protested helplessly. 

" Yes, I do. It is you who do not understand. 
No soul is moved by what it does not possess, and 
I I thought you knew me better, Dan." 

He was silent. Surely the woman who dared 


speak so with clear, unfaltering eyes raised to his, 
was worthy of a lifetime's love and reverence. 

For a longer time than usual they walked in 
silence. Then he made her talk of herself, as he 
was never tired of doing; but the details of her 
life made him frown. 

*' It all seems unworthy of you, somehow," he pro- 
tested. " Even the music you sing is trash " 

" The art with which I sing it is not trash," she 

" Even the music is trash, and you know it, but 
go on because you win admiration. And how long 
do you think admiration is going to satisfy you? 
Do you think you can starve your heart and your 
brain forever? All this excitement and bidding 
for adulation is cheapening ; it will cheapen even 
you in the end. Turn off the gas, Win ; turn off 
the gas, and let the stars shine." 

" If you think me capable of all this worthless- 
ness," said Win, "why do you why do you" 

"Why do I love you?" 


" Primarily because you are you, I suppose." 

" That is no reason." 

" It is enough for me," he said doggedly ; and 
then added, half smiling, " I suppose I love you for 
the possibilities of that empty heart and brain." 


"Winifred's eyes were mischievous. 

" I am not sure that I like being loved for my 
possibilities," she said. 

Twilight found them at a remote Gasthaus high 
among the mountains. Winifred sat on the ter- 
race, idly watching the clouds trail their gray edges 
over silent hills, while Dan went to make inquiries 
as to their whereabouts. His words and tones 
floated through her consciousness, and in this quiet 
hour she could stand face to face with her soul, 
and know, as in the depths of her being she always 
knew, that he was right. 

He loomed up before her suddenly, looking some- 
what grim through the dusk. 

" We must take a carriage back," he said. " And 
while they are tackling you had better come in and 
have something warm to drink. It will be cold, 

In a dimly lighted room she sipped coffee, and 
watched him play with a tiny crippled boy, who 
seemed to belong to the inn. The child had pre- 
ternaturally large eyes, grown grave through that 
most pitifid of all things in the world, childish pain. 
At first he was chary of accepting this very tall 
stranger's advances ; but Dan's manner with chil- 
dren was not to be resisted, and very soon he lifted 
the frail little form from its chair, and the child 


nestled confidingly into arms at once so gentle and 
so strong. Before the time came to go, Dan had 
brought a light to the wan face, and uncertain 
childish laughter echoed through the room. 

Winifred left her coffee half finished. 

" What is it? " he asked, looking down into seri- 
ous eyes while he fastened her cloak. 

" You make me ashamed, Dan," she said very 

"Ashamed you?" 

" Yes. I could not have spoken to, or touched 
that child as you did. You teach tenderness to me 
you, a man, and I am ashamed. How did you 
learn it?" 

" Through loving you." 

For a moment they stood so in the dim room, 
her eyes meeting and questioning his. Then they 
went out into the night, and very silently drove 
down through the cool, damp darkness. There was 
a sound of running streams, and the air was pun- 
gent with the odor of pine and balsam. The great 
mountain loomed black against a sky brightened 
by the rising moon, and over the still, dark world 
mists trailed and lingered caressingly. 

Winifred leaned back, her face turned to the 
stars. In her eyes was something of awe and of 
wonder. Dan bent once and put his coat about 


her, and his silent action changed the mental at- 
mosphere. The silence between them became elec- 
tric with unuttered words. 

" ' Ye have taught my lips one single speech, and 
a thousand silences,' " he said to her at last. " I 
know you best in your silent moments, Win." 

She turned towards him, and her eyes met his. 

" You are wondering if you will tell me that the 
silences are all mine," he continued. "You need 
n't ; for I know it." 

Then for another time they drove under the re- 
mote, solemn stars, without words passing between 

Before long the moon floated up from behind the 
mountain, drowning the stars, and flooding the val- 
ley with mystic light. The mists passed away from 
the earth, and many lights twinkled from the village 

" We are almost there," said Win. 

" We are almost there," he repeated. " And I 
am going away to-morrow." 

The driver was sleepy. He nodded on his seat, 
and the horses jogged lazily through a silent village 
street, and out into the open fields again. 

" Win ! " His eyes, dark and stern, claimed 
hers. " How many more times am I to come and 
go, before you go with me ? " 


Winifred moved restlessly. " I have never given 
you the right to say I would some day go with you." 

" I have taken the right." 

She met his eyes bravely. 

" I do not love you I do not know that I ever 

" But I know. You may try the life you have 
chosen, but you cannot starve your brain or silence 
your heart forever. You will reap as you have 
sown, but the harvest will be bitter, and then I 
shall claim you by the right and might of my love." 
His face, stern with passion, was close to hers. 
" Winifred, Winifred, how long are you going to 
keep me waiting ? " 

Something moved within her as a sleeper moves 
in his dream. His words and tones rang with con- 
quering manhood. 

" Win, I love you ! I love you ! I love you ! 
Sooner or later you will leave all and come to me. 
How long are you going to keep me waiting ? God 
help me how I love you!" He took her into 
his arms, and though she would have struggled 
against the strange compelling power of his plead- 
ing, she lay almost passive in his clasp. 

" Dan, I can't I can't I am not ready 
yet," she whispered. 


Chapter V 


irrOR several days after Dan's departure Wini- 
JL fred was unusually silent. Edith shrewdly 
suspected that he had been troublesome the night 
of the drive, for Winifred had come in alone, look- 
ing pale and shaken out of her habitually careless 
gayety, and Dan had not appeared to say good-by 
the next morning. It was several days before 
Edith found courage to mention his name. 

"Dan was looking older," she remarked one 
morning, tentatively. 

" That is nonsense," answered Winifred with 
some sharpness. " He is only thirty-one." 

" I only said he looked older not old. I sup- 
pose you will allow that even I look older than 
when I was eighteen." 

" He looked tired. I think he is working too 
hard," admitted Winifred. 

Edith hesitated. " Did he ever say anything 
about Mr. Garrison ? " she asked, with every ap- 
pearance of indifference. 



"I must write him not to work so hard," said 
Winifred, ignoring her sister's remark. " He cer- 
tainly has changed in some way. I noticed it at 
once. The lines in his face have worn deeper; but 
more with strength than with years, I think." 

In the mean time, Dan was making the best of 
the long journey to Paris. Sunk in the dark cor- 
ner of a compartment, he thought of Winifred, her 
vividness, her gallant, joyous bearing, and more 
than all he thought of the hints of deep and per- 
fect womanhood he caught now and then in her 
eyes and voice. At Paris, he found a letter from 
her, written the day after his departure. 

" I lay awake nearly an hour last night, worry- 
ing," she wrote. Dan smiled, remembering the 
entire nights he had lain awake thinking of her. 
" And this morning, I am more than ever troubled 
for fear that you have taken false meaning from 
my last words. You wrung them from me, for I 
am not altogether a stone, and I don't believe the 
woman lives whom you could not move. I was at 
high pressure, almost breaking pressure, when I 
spoke them. Under the stars it is easy to believe 
in shadows. This morning, in broad, positive day- 
light, I see myself as I am. It is no use, Dan. 
Your love for me is the greatest honor in my life, 
but I can't live up to it or satisfy it. You love me 


partly for what is in yourself, partly for what I am 
not. I can't change I don't wish to. I am 
young, happy, successful. You tell me of myste- 
ries beyond my horizon line. I do not believe in 
them. You tell me the flood tide of a woman's 
life reflects the lives of others, and I do not wish 
to believe it. I want life ! life ! life ! for myself, 
for myself, Dan. It is my hands that feel, my eyes 
that see ; what do I know of others ? It is / that 
enjoy, or suffer, or struggle, not somebody else. I 
want all of life there is to be had, every drop and 
dreg, and I want it for myself. Please understand, 
once for all, Dan, I want it for myself. 

" Don't think I am unkind to speak so strongly. 
The kindest thing of all would be for me to stop 
our friendship ; but I can't do it, partly because 
you will not yield, partly because I am selfish, and 
your friendship is the only one in the world that 
means anything to me." 

Dan buttoned this discouraging epistle under his 
breast pocket, and smiled a smile of quiet mastery. 
He did not answer her at length. 

"Dear child, don't trouble yourself about it," 
he wrote. " Your letter -makes me feel how young 
you are, and I am sad when I think of what must 
come to you before your plucky spirit will bend. 
"We are all tried by flood and fire sooner or later, and 


the misfortune is generally fitted to the size of the 
soul that knows it." 

During the voyage home Dan thought constantly 
of how young she was, how much younger than 
himself, though there were only seven years be- 
tween them. He wondered, and then laughed at 
himself for wondering, if an odd tired feeling in 
his head and eyes meant that he was growing old, 
or was only overworked. Certainly he found the 
quiet of an Atlantic voyage infinitely refreshing, 
and went back to Garrison and his winter quarters 
in good spirits. 

The first evening was cold, and both men sat 
smoking over a wood fire. They talked with a cer- 
tain indifference of their vacations, which had been 
spent in different parts of Europe. 

" Did you finally get to the Tyrol? " asked Wal- 

His friend glanced at him keenly. " Yes. Why 
would n't you go with me ? " 

Walter leaned over and knocked the ashes out 
of his pipe. Some moments elapsed before he said 
very slowly : 

" It seemed best not this time." 

" I wondered if that were the reason." 

" That was the reason," he answered quietly. 

For a little while the two men smoked in silence. 


They understood one another, and being men, 
words were superfluous. Dan spoke first. 

" I suppose it is largely a question of money ? " 

" It must be entirely a question of money before 
it can be a question of her." 

Again it did not seem necessary for Dan to say 
that he agreed with him. 

" How much are you making now ? " he asked. 

" A bare eight hundred." 

After another pause Dan rose with a short 
laugh. " Providence needs guiding," he said. " I 
make more than I can spend, and have no use 
for it." 

With the beginning of winter Walter Garrison 
went back to his business and plodded on doggedly 
after his usual fashion. He watched with an ach- 
ing heart for advancement which never came. 

Dan's season began brilliantly. He was grow- 
ing to be feared by some, admired by many, loved 
by a few. In no case was he ignored. Resolutely 
and confidently did he walk the road he had chosen. 
With unflinching eyes did he look into the years 
to come, audaciously challenging their power to 
give him other than what he wished. He feared 
nothing, believing that a man holds his success in 
the hollow of his hand, and having conquered so 
much, it was easy to believe that the woman with- 


out whom all else must be as nothing would some 
day be his also. 

It was almost imperceptibly that he first came 
to a consciousness of unusual effort in his work. 
Night hours especially were exhausting to his eyes 
and brain. 

" Am I ill, or growing old ? " he asked himself 

One night, Walter came in from the theatre 
about eleven, to find the light out in the study and 
Dan smoking by the fire. 

" What on earth are you loafing for ? " he asked 
him, turning up the gas. 

Dan rose impatiently. " I can't seem to manage 
night hours," he said. " There 's something wrong 
with my head. I think it 's neuralgia." 

" Perhaps it 's astigmatism," suggested Garrison. 
" Why not consult an oculist ? " 

" Bah ! There 's nothing wrong with my eyes, 
and I don't like oculists. My uncle went blind 
when I was a boy and drowned himself in a mill- 
pond. I used to think the oculist had something 
to do with it, and the memory of the man's face 
frightened me more than tales of ghosts carrying 
their heads in their hands." 

" You don't look overworked," said Garrison, 
reverting to the original point. 


" I am not overworked. I never felt better in 
my life." 

" Sometimes a pair of glasses is all one needs 
for pain in the head," he persisted quietly. 

"Glasses!" Dan laughed contemptuously. "No, 
there 's nothing wrong ; if I am not all right soon 
I '11 get a prescription for neuralgia." 

For awhile Walter heard no more of the matter. 
He noticed that Dan had a worn look unusual to 
him, and that his temper was increasingly short, 
but he made no further allusion to his trouble, 
knowing that what Dan chose to say he would say 
without being questioned. 

The evening work went on as before, till one 
night when Walter was disturbed by a constant 
tramp of heavy footsteps in the study. 

" What the devil are you up to ? " he called 

" I am up to nothing," answered Dan's voice 
with uncalled-for gruffness. 

" Then keep quiet ; other people want to sleep if 
you don't." 

After that he remembered nothing till he met 
Howard in the morning. 

" What in the name of reason were you doing 
last night ? " he asked. 

" I could n't sleep," answered Dan ; " there was 


a hideous pain in my head which had to be walked 
into submission." 

Walter looked at him narrowly and saw that he 
did not look right. 

" How long has this been going on ? " he asked. 

" A lifetime, it seems. It began last winter." 

" Better go to the doctor." 

" I mean to. What are Randolph's hours ? " 

" From two to four, I think. So it is to be an 
oculist after all ? " 

" Yes ; the trouble is with my eyes. I 've known 
that all along." 

After breakfast he felt sufficiently fortified to 
laugh at pains and doctors. 

" Meet me at the club for luncheon. I don't be- 
lieve I '11 go to the doctor after all," he called to 
Walter, and went his way down town, walking 
vigorously through the cold. 

Walter watched his friend tramping down the 
hill. " What a splendid specimen of manhood he 
is ! " he thought ; " all the same I don't like his 

During the morning Dan looked in at Garrison's 

" Don't expect me for luncheon. I am going to 
Randolph's and may be kept hours." 

" Got the jumps again ? " queried Walter. 


Dan nodded and disappeared. 

Walter got home early. He had been haunted 
by the possibility of Dan's being obliged to knock 
off work. " He won't take easily to limitations," 
he thought, as he opened the study door. It was 
not too dark to see that Dan sat alone, without the 
comfort of pipe or fire. 

"Well, what's the verdict?" Walter asked 
with an attempt at cheer which felt oddly unnat- 
ural. " You don't look festive ; let 's have a light." 

Dan winced as the gas flared up. 

" You damn fool, can't you see you 're putting 
my eyes out? " he cried savagely. 

Walter paused in amazement, the lighted match 
still in his hand. He saw that Dan's face was gray 
and running with perspiration. " For God's sake, 
man, what 's the matter ? " he asked. 

" I am going blind," said Dan. 

"Blind you" Walter repeated the words 
dully. He had a sense of being confronted with 
something his imagination could not grasp. 

Dan rose heavily and with a shaking hand poured 
himself out a glass of whiskey. " I 've taken enough 
of this stuff to give me D. T.'s," he said, " but I 
can't even get confused." 

" I guess you 've had all you want now," said 
Walter, removing a nearly empty bottle to the side- 


board. Then he felt the need of sitting down. 
He looked at Dan, and Dan stared back at him 
with haggard eyes in which there was deadly fear. 

" You say you are going to be blind ? " 

Dan nodded. " That 's it. My sight may not 
hold out through the year. What do you think of 
it ? " he asked grimly. 

Walter dropped his head in his hands. 

" My God ! " he said. 

"Yes, I know. I 've been doing that all the after- 
noon, and it 's no use." Dan kicked a chair out 
of the way and began pacing the room. " It 's 
hell, thunder, fire, and all the devils," he went on, 
" but there 's no escape." 

" Did n't the doctor give hope? " 

" None. I was a doomed man six months ago. 
It's my uncle's trouble, and I thought I could 
choose my own life ! The Fates must find a 
good deal to laugh at, if they have any sense of 

Walter did not answer. As yet he loved no 
woman as he loved Dan Howard. There was a 
silence, and then Dan stood above him laughing. 

" You look as if you were going blind yourself, 
old boy," he said. "Come, buck up. I'll be a 
man till the light goes, and then you can make it 
all right by giving me a knock on the head." 


"Stop talking that rot," said Walter, as he forced 
Dan into a chair. "And don't take any more whis- 
key we need clear heads." 

Dan tried to square his shoulders. " I am not 
going to funk, Wally. I shall come round in a 
day or so ; only when a man has received a blow 
between the eyes he can't see straight right off. 
You'll allow that to be left in the dark is not 

He spoke with laboring breath, and drops of 
perspiration stood on his forehead. 

" I am no coward," he said, " but to be blind 
not to know noon from midnight to become ab- 
ject, helpless, pitiable to be blind My God 
I am afraid." 


Chapter YI 


IF there is help in the mind of any man, in the 
wisdom of the ages, or in the earth or in the 
heavens, I am going to find it," said Dan a few 
days later. He spoke in a voice that grated, and 
the lines in his face were deep and harsh. Walter 
stood opposite. 

" The greatest oculist in the world does n't 
practice any more," he said with dreary hopeless- 

" Where is he ? " asked Dan. 

" San Francisco." 

Dan consulted a time-table." 

" I can leave to-morrow morning." 

" But he won't see you." 

" Can you get me his address ? " 

" Randolph has it. But what 's the use ? He 
won't see you," Walter persisted, with dull ob- 

" If you say that again I '11 throw you out of the 
window. He will have to see me." 


A valise was packed in feverish haste while 
Walter looked on. 

" What are you loafing round here for ? " Dan 
inquired at last, exasperated by his friend's inar- 
ticulate sympathy. 

" There is nothing going on at the office." 

" I don't believe it." Dan was wrestling with 
shirtstuds and an over-stiff collar. 

" I know I am not much good," said Walter, 
" but you can use me to blow off steam on." 

If Dan was touched he did not show it. 

" I could n't read the quotations of the stock 
exchange this morning," he remarked a little later, 
and then paused with lowering brows. " The 
doctor won't fix a time limit," he continued. " It 
may come soon." 

" Don't you want me to go with you ? " Walter 
asked eagerly. 

" Thank you, I don't need a keeper yet." Dan 
looked at his friend with ill-concealed ferocity. 
" Damn it all, Walter, what do you mean by that ? 
Do you expect me to go blind on the journey ? " 

" No, but you just said " 

" Never mind what I said, and keep your con- 
founded croaking to yourself." Dan sat down for 
a moment, and wiped his forehead with an un- 
steady hand. Then out of a drawer he took a 


heavy pistol and balanced it in his hand. " If one 
were a coward, how simple the way out of the fight 
would be! " he observed. 

" But you are not a coward." 

"It would be interesting to find out." He 
moved toward his valise. 

" You are not going to take it with you ! " 

" Your voice is anxious, Wally ; that settles it ; 
the pistol goes." 

Walter's long-suffering patience gave way. 

"Are you a child, to indulge in such bravado ? " 
he cried. " Give that infernal thing to me." 

" Take your hand away or it will go hard with 
you." There was a moment's struggle, while the 
men breathed heavily ; then Dan stowed the pistol 
away in his bag. 

"The bravado amuses me," he said quietly. 
" It 's not my fault if your sense of humor is 

A few minutes before the Chicago express left 
the city, Walter hurried through the car in search 
of Dan. "I have just met Randolph," he ex- 
plained. " He did n't approve of your going west 
said the journey would be bad, and told me 
you must n't read a word or look out of the win- 
dow overmuch, and guard, above all, against glare 


from the snow. He suggested a dark corner of 
the car, or blue glasses." 

Dan laughed shortly. " Are we men, or slaves ? " 
he said. " And how am I to get the glasses at 
this hour?" 

"I had time to buy them as I came along." 
Walter handed over his purchase, which Dan sur- 
veyed with a twisted smile. 

" I don't like their looks," he said, " but it was 
good of you to get them, Wally. I have been a 
brute these last days, but Well, the fight is 
about as hot as I can stand it." 

" I know it, old man. Trample on me all you 
want, if it relieves you. God knows I would " 
The sentence was finished by a silent hand grip. 
"But I should be happier if you hadn't taken 
the pistol," he added. 

"You will find it on the smoking-table when 
you get home," said Dan. " I left it as a legacy 
in case I got smashed up. You blessed old idiot, 
what did you think I was taking it for ? " 

" To torment me, I suppose." 

" Exactly ; but you looked so superlatively mis- 
erable about it that I had n't the heart only I 
am sorry you thought I was going to funk." 

The journey seemed to Dan a desperate run for 
the light, a race in which every hour increased the 


chance of loss. In the darkness and solitude of a 
private room he sat with his head in his hands 
trying to think clearly. But visions of Winifred's 
face confused him, and from the dread and horror 
of his probable future there was no escape. After 
a night in which broken sleep brought no f orget- 
f ulness, it came to him that the dark was no longer 
bearable, and as he must undoubtedly go blind in 
spite of the San Francisco doctor, it would be well 
to see while he might. So he pushed up the cur- 
tain and took cognizance of men and things. To 
his tortured consciousness the world assumed the 
qualities of nightmare. Chicago seemed a mighty 
and a hideous city, where an eager life roared in 
canon-like depths, and huge buildings loomed dark 
and ominous against the sky. The train, shrieking, 
quivering, panting as if goaded by intolerable fear, 
rushed from the cavernous station into the mo- 
notony of farms and grainfields. Then came more 
thoughts of Winifred, more visions of the future. 
The miles were hemispheres, the hours years. As- 
suredly the doctor would die before he could be 
reached, and every moment brought increasing 
certainty of blindness. He tried to imagine how 
it would be, and when the realization assumed a 
certain degree of distinctness, the perspiration 


would break out on him and his hands shake like 
a woman's. 

The next day the Missouri River was passed, 
but the Pacific coast seemed as distant as ever. 
Now he was in the prairies, and with breathless 
haste the train sped onward through a level, color- 
less world, where there was neither wind nor sun, 
nor tree nor stream, where life was hushed and 
strife was futile, and anguish would be lost. At 
intervals of a hundred miles or so, some houses 
huddled together in fear of the loneliness. 

All that afternoon Dan thought of Winifred 
and what might have been. 

After dark the cold became intense, and through 
wind and snow and fitful moonlight, two gasping, 
struggling engines drew the train up the Rocky 
Mountains. Dan slept brokenly, oppressed by a 
sense of gigantic effort in his progress, which de- 
creased chances of salvation. But assuredly Wini- 
fred would come before the end. At last he felt 
her hand, and heard her voice saying, "Never mind 
the dark, Dan, I shall always be here." 

The morning light showed him the summit of 

the Rockies, a strange, desolate spot, without 

grandeur or beauty, where huge rocks, hideous, 

naked, distorted, loomed against the sky. Dan 



looked with hatred and dread in his heart. Then 
came the land of the sage-brush, the desert, a spot 
forsaken by God and man ; a gaunt, scarred, deso- 
late world, arid and parched ; a dead world, with- 
out shadow, or voice, or breath. In these brown, 
echoless distances, in this huge desolation, Dan 
felt the numbness of despair. The day was an 
eternity, the horizons slipped away like grains of 
sand in an hourglass, and nothing mattered much 
save the quantity of sage-brush. The thought of 
their millions made him giddy ; he felt there could 
be no escape from them, they would be before his 
eyes long after the sight of men's faces had gone 
forever. If Winifred were here, but Winifred 
must go with the light. The voice of a man out- 
side his door complaining of hunger brought him 
to the realization that his fancies were those of a 
diseased brain. As no dream could be worse than 
his reality, so madness might be a relief ; but his 
soul sent up a passionate prayer that he might 
never know such relief, whatever his sufferings, or 
however many his years. 

The next morning he remembered with a sense 
of wonder that this was the last day of his jour- 
ney, and courage, if not hope, returned. The 
desert lay behind ; his way was upwards through 
the Sierra Nevada, where there was luxuriant 


nature and dazzling beauty. There were shouting 
mountain torrents, regal snow - burdened ever- 
greens ; over all was a cloudless sky, and in all, 
vigor and joy. During a pause in the ascent he 
stood alone beside his car. In front of him a val- 
ley led the eye away to a distance of more moun- 
tains, more snow and pines. It seemed eternal ; a 
beautiful, triumphant world, dazzling and virginal 
as on the first day of its creation. Then Dan 
wondered what man had done to deserve so glori- 
ous a heritage, and drew in breaths that were deep 
and strong with the pride of being. Surely failure 
was but a word, and darkness a dream. Then he 
swayed suddenly, caught by swift, intolerable pain, 
and gray fog rolled between him and the bright- 
ness. The mountains were no more, and the car 
was a dark indistinct mass. With difficulty he 
made his way to it, and by a fortunate chance 
stumbled into his own compartment ; his face was 
gray with dread, and his hands shook, but he sat 
down very quietly to wait. 

" When is this fog going to lift ? " he said. 
" Perhaps it won't lift. My God ! I wish Wally 
were here." 

After a while daylight came back to him, and a 
tolerable clearness of vision ; but he kept the cur- 
tain drawn, and looked no more on the snow. In 


future the bright worlds, the worlds of triumph 
and freedom, were not for him. 

The final arrival in San Francisco was not till 
late that night, and the next morning a cab 
dropped him at the door of the great specialist, 
Dr. Davage. As was to have been expected, the 
servant refused him admittance. " The doctor 
never receives strangers," the man told him, and 
was about to shut the door. Dan presented his 
card and a letter of introduction, receiving in 
return an assurance that they would be delivered 
in the course of the day, but that at present the 
doctor was having his morning smoke on the back 
piazza, where disturbing him would be out of the 
question. Dan considered a moment before the 
closed door. 

" I don't see very well, but I think I can trust 
myself to find the back piazza," he told himself. 

Dr. Davage sat alone, enjoying a pipe, a good 
digestion, and the view. His eye swept beyond 
the carefully kept garden, over the housetops to 
the gleaming waters of the bay, and the mountains 
beyond. He had a lazy sense of vast ownership, 
and knew a distinct satisfaction that no one was 
present to share his delights. Suddenly his privacy 
was broken by a footfall on the gravel, and a 
figure came between himself and the sun. 


" What the devil " he began, and then paused 
in amazement, as a man, gaunt-featured and hag- 
gard-eyed, stumbled up the steps. 

"You are Dr. Davage?" said this man in the 
voice of an autocrat. 

" The same. May I inquire the cause of this 

"I am losing my eyesight; I am half blind 
already, and I have come to see if you can save 

"Ah. I shall dismiss my servant to-morrow. 
How is it he allowed you to " 

" He did not allow me ; I came. When can you 
give me an appointment ? " 

" Not so fast, my friend. I see that you are a 
gentleman, and as such you must be aware of hav- 
ing taken an unwarrantable liberty." 

"Just now I have no time to be a gentle- 

" Ah," said the doctor again. " Won't you sit 
down, Mr." 


" The name is familiar. I have met you before." 

" The fact is immaterial. Will you see me to- 

The doctor knocked the ashes from his pipe. 
" I practice no longer," he said. 


" I ask you to make an exception in my favor. 
You may name your price." 

" My dear sir," a movement of the hands sug- 
gested superiority to dollars and cents, " pray 
spare me the pain of repeated denial. I remem- 
ber now where I have seen you, and you should 
have good reason to remember my face. You were 
the opposing counsel in the case of Hoyt versus 
Davage, and you won by a rather clever argu- 
ment, I remember. As a result I was some thou- 
sands out of pocket. I suppose you had forgotten 
this little circumstance when you came to me to- 

" I had forgotten, but recollection would not 
have prevented my coming." 

" Ah, this becomes interesting. I wonder what 
blindness will make of you." 

" You will see me, doctor ? " 

" Certainly not." Simultaneously the men rose 
and faced each other. The doctor was quiet and 
cool. Dan breathed heavily. He realized that 
in this man of whims he had met a will equal to 
his own. 

To himself the doctor said, " I like his damned 
audacity." Aloud he added, " Rest is a question of 
life and death to me." 

" Sight is a question of more than life or death 


to me. You can't condemn a man to blindness for 
the sake of a whim." 

" I wish you a very good morning, Mr. Howard." 

Then Dan's pride gave way. 

" I see less every day," he said hoarsely. " For 
God's sake, give me a chance." 

Doctor Davage smiled, and Dan turned away 

" Stop one moment," said Davage. " When a 
man like you takes to begging, he must be listened 
to. Come into the house, and I will see what can 
be done for you." 

Without a word, Dan turned and followed him, 
wondering if awakening pity rather than use of 
power was to be his weapon of the future, as it had 
been of to-day. 

" Sit down there no, with your back to the 
light ; the glare annoys you, I see. You will have 
to wait while I prepare my apparatus, which is not 
on tap for every one." 

There was only kindness in the doctor's voice 
now. He talked briskly while polishing a reflect- 
ing mirror. 

" I am not entirely a brute," he continued, " but 

I have as many whims as a schoolgirl, and it 

amuses me to startle people by showing them off ; 

when a man forces me to meet him under the crust 



as you have done, I like him. I like you, and hope 
to be able to save those eyes. Have you confidence 
in me?" 

Dan smiled wearily. " I have no especial respect 
for whims," he said, " but there must be something 
big about you or you could not have stood against 
my will as you did." 

"Ah! " The doctor looked up with a twinkle in 
his eyes. " The arrogance of expecting me to do 
anything for you after you had made me pay those 
thousands. Oh, I owed them I owed them, all 
right. I hope you realize that I did not yield un- 
der your will to-day." 

" No ; you were sorry for me." 

" Well, well I might have spared your pride 
that admission ; but I owed it to my vanity." 
Then with a complete change of countenance, " I 
am ready for you now, Mr. Howard ; sit here, if 
you please." 

The little man suddenly became a great special- 
ist. He surveyed his patient with a settling of 
brow and lip that changed his face oddly. 

" Now then what 's your trouble ? " 

Dan told him, and there was a moment's pause. 

" That is bad," said the doctor slowly. " The 
end of such a trouble is usually a foregone conclu- 
sion. We shall see. Your pulse is not steady." 


" I should like to have the examination over as 
soon as possible, if you please." 

" Move forward so." 

Under the rays of the reflector, Dan was dazzled 
and tortured almost to unconsciousness. There 
was a pause, and then 

" The case is entirely hopeless," said the doctor. 

Dan sat silent, with bowed head. He did not 
speak at once. 

" There are certain things I want to do," he said 
at last. " How long a time do you give me ? " 

" With reasonable precautions you are safe for 
several months yet." 

" There will be time to see Win again," he 
thought. Aloud he continued, " I see badly to-day 
after a strain I had yesterday, above the snow-line 
of the Sierra. Can you tell me if the results are 
likely to be permanent? Shall I be better be- 
fore "- 

" Before you are worse ? yes, I should think it 

" Thank you ; I will go now. You have been 
very good. For how much am I in your debt ? " 

" You owe me a few thousands or so ; but not 
for this occasion. I no longer practice profession- 
ally. This is a positive rule. You must submit to 
taking my advice as a gift, Mr. Howard." 


The point seemed to Dan unworthy of consider- 
ation. He rose and walked unsteadily toward the 

The doctor was quiet and grave. " I should be 
glad to have you stay longer," he said. " Do you 
feel equal to the glare yet ? " 

Dan winced at the sunlight. " I think it will be 
all right," he said. " I must go. There are things 
to do." 

Win was to be seen, of course, and there were 
certain business matters he alone could wind up. 
His mind was painfully clear. For a moment he 
paused on the veranda steps, realizing that the 
world was good to look upon. 

Dr. Davage saw and understood. "You care 
especially for this sort of thing ? " he asked. 

" One might give it up, if that were all." 

Davage nodded. " I know ; it is the putting 
out of hands for help to women and children." 

A spasm crossed Dan's lips. 

"Why submit to it?" asked the doctor. 
" There 's a way out." 

" It 's too much like turning a back to the 

" Nonsense ! It is merely a question of choice. 
You take the easy road instead of the difficult. 
What will life hold for you? I should not think 


you were the man to submit to the insolence of a 
fate that never asks permission." 

" I shall put it through somehow," answered 

Davage held out his hand. " I like you, How- 
ard," he said. " I knew your father ; he was a good 
fighter ; but you are a bigger man than he. If you 
will allow me to say so, 1 am sorry for you. I 
shall hope to see you again." 

" I suppose I cannot hope for the same pleasure," 
said Dan with a faint smile. 

" I fear not. I shall hardly go east before a year 
or two, and by that time you can scarcely ex- 
pect " 

" I suppose not. Good-morning, doctor." 

On the journey home there were no more weak- 
minded fancies about dead worlds and an eternity 
of sage-brush. Behind closely drawn curtains Dan 
sat weighing the future with a pitilessly clear brain, 
that spared him the knowledge of no single bitter- 


Chapter YII 


WALTER sat alone, with an account of the 
stock market lying untouched on his 
knees. The drop in sugar, the depression in rail- 
way bonds, and the tightness of money were ephem- 
eral matters, unworthy of consideration. Dan 
might, and probably would, go blind. Beyond 
this fact Walter's mind refused to go. Hour by 
hour the realization of all blindness would mean 
deepened in his consciousness, and the horror and 
pity of it grew upon him. Suddenly Dan stood in 
the doorway. 

Neither of the men spoke. Walter's eyes 
questioned hungrily, and Dan's face answered. 
On the table lay a large pile of unopened letters, 
with a bulky envelope addressed in Winifred's 
handwriting lying conspicuously near the top. 
He put this in his pocket, and tossed the others 

"I can't waste my eyes on those things," he 
said, and flung himself wearily into a chair. 


Walter broke the silence. "You saw the 
doctor ? " 


Dan stared into gathering shadows. 

" There 's no hope," he continued. " Life is a 
lost game for me." 

" How soon ? " Walter's lips were dry. 

" A breathing space." 

"A year?" 

" A few months. Oblige me by not looking at 
me that way again while I can see you." 

He spoke with subdued ferocity ; for in Walter's 
eyes he could take the measure of his own future. 

There was a pause, and then Walter rose to 
shade the lamp which shone in Dan's eyes. The 
latter looked up. 

"Thank you, Wally," he said. 

" What are you going to do? " asked Walter. 

" I am going to Europe, and then I am going 
blind, and then after a century or so, I am going 
to die." 

" And during the * century or so ' ? " 

" I shall keep up my profession. I suppose that 
is what you want to know." 

"It can be done?" 

" It must be done. I shall get a secretary, pay 
him extra for being sworn at, and work him like a 


dog. It 's either work or something worse than 
madness or death." 

" You say you are going to Europe ?" 

"There 's a famous specialist in Paris," Dan 
said briefly. Then he rose and stood with his back 
to the fire. " There 's another point," he began. 
" When my eyes go, you must move out find 
lodgings for yourself." 

" Can you give me any reason why I should ? " 

" Certainly. I don't choose to have you bother- 
ing about me while you might be at work, or with 
the fellows." 

" That 's rot I am not going," said Walter. 

" If you don't, I shall, and I would rather live 
on here, because I know the place and could find 
things in the dark." 

" I am not going," repeated Walter obstinately. 
" Nor are you. You and I have always been " 
He paused. 

" Yes, I know all that, and I know you, and so 
we '11 part company, please. My darkness is my 
own. I don't want any one to share it." 

Walter puffed at his pipe, and settled himself 
more deeply in the armchair. 

" How do you expect to get rid of me ? " he 
asked. " I am wondering how I should get rid of 
you in a like circumstance." 


" I would go to the other end of the world to 
escape from a man who could n't see to find his 
collar button. However, your consent doesn't 
matter. If you can't go with it, you must go with- 
out it." 

That night he read Winifred's letter. She wrote 
jubilantly of her final engagement to sing in the 
Paris Opera House, and filled pages with accounts 
of her hopes and fears. Dan read with pain and 
some difficulty. He must tell her to write with 
darker ink and on less transparent paper, and 
then he laid his head down on the letter with an 
inarticulate moan. It was doubtful if he ever 
read more of her writing ; doubtful also if he could 
see her face by the time he arrived in Paris. 

During the next few days a secretary was chosen 
on trial. 

"He hasn't the eyes and lips that blab, and 
he 's clever," Dan decided after a few days' work 
with a slight, pale boy. " Poor little devil, he has 
a threadbare coat, and looks hungry." 

Gazing down at the very small secretary, he felt 
a strong disinclination to confess his own coming 

" Stirling, how would you like to enter my office 
and stay there subject to advancement ? " he asked 
one evening, suddenly. 



Stirling looked up at the prominent lawyer. 

" Your office, sir ? " he said, a hungry eagerness 
in his usually quiet eyes. 

" That 's what I said." 

There were awe, admiration, and reverence in 
Stirling's face. Dan saw this, and swallowed 

" The fact is," he said, bracing his broad shoul- 
ders, " the fact is I 'm losing my eyesight. I don't 
expect it to last me through the year. I should 
wish you to be eyes for me. It will be dog's work, 
and I can't afford to consider your strength. If 
you can't do the work, some one else can. I 
shall require something else besides law work. 
You would have to take me down town and back 
every day, besides being constantly with me. Do 
you know anything about blind people ? " 

"No, sir." 

" No more do I, but we can both learn. How 
will it be about vacations ? Shall you be wanting 
leave every few months ? Because I can't spare 

" I think that will be all right." 

" You hesitate what is it ? Family? or sweet- 

" I have a mother," answered Stirling. 

" Is she old, or ill?" 



" She is both." 

" Ah, that is bad. Where is she ? " 

" In New York State." 

" I see, and you will want to be with her con- 
stantly. Then I am afraid we can't arrange it." 

" I don't think she or I will be unreasonable." 
Stirling spoke eagerly. " I want to work with 
you," he added. 

Dan considered. " You can't desert a mother," 
he said. " I never had one myself, but I always 
thought they must be more or less desirable arti- 

Stirling looked up quickly, whereat Dan smiled. 
" He lacks humor," he thought, " and is shocked at 
my calling a mother a desirable article ; but he is 
not afraid to show it, so I like him." 

" Could n't you bring your mother here, or near 
here ? " he suggested. 

"That would depend on my salary," said the 
boy frankly. 

" Of course. Considering the peculiar circum- 
stances, I mean personal attendance and the 
rest of it, I will give you twenty-five hundred a 
year. You must be extravagant if you can't sup-- 
port yourself, and bring your mother wherever you 
like, on that. Are you an only son ? " 

" Yes, sir ; but I have a sister." 


" Then you don't need to go away often. Think 
it over, and let me know." 

"I don't require to think it over, sir. I can 
say now that I shall be glad, I shall be proud, to 
take the situation." 

With immense pity in his eyes the little sec- 
retary looked up at the big man. Dan winced, 
and felt a sudden desire to strangle some one. 

After a short pause he spoke again. "All 
right," he said. " Only don't expect to have an 
easy time, for I shall work you like a dog ; nor a 
good time, for I don't expect to be especially cheer- 
ful at first." 

"I fear neither the one nor the other," said 

" That 's right, and spoken like a man. I think 
we shall rub along all right. I am not often wrong 
in reading faces. Of course our agreement is a 
secret until it can't be a secret any longer." 

" What an ass I am to stick at the word ! " Dan 
added to himself. 

Stirling hesitated, with his hand on the door 

" Can you tell me how long it will be before " 

" Before I go blind?" finished Dan, swallowing 
hard. " It will be some time within the year. 
What is that to you?" 



" I asked because I had better go to my mother 
and make arrangements for moving her before you 
absolutely need me." 

" I foresee the mother is to be a bone of conten- 
tion. You can go next week while I am in Europe, 
and stay till I come back. If I get into trouble 
while I am away, I shall cable you to meet me at 
the steamer on her arrival in Boston. What is 
it now? " For Stirling still lingered. 

" I wish " he began hesitatingly, " I wish I 
could say or do something to express " 

" Yes, yes, I understand all that," interrupted 
Dan hastily. " Never mind. You had better go 

After the door had closed, Dan remained stand- 

"The boy is a sensitive little animal," he re- 
flected. " It 's a pity he has no humor, but other- 
wise he is clever enough, and I only want his eyes. 
He is the kind to die for his principles ; people 
without humor usually are, and his heart is all 
right. I could tell that by the way he looked at 
me." Dan set his teeth. " Fancy a little beggar 
like that looking at me so." 

During the few days that passed before the sail- 
ing of his steamer, Dan marshaled the forces of his 
soul and fought a good fight. He was a man of 


arrogant power, who faced a life of pitiable depend- 
ence, and would not run away ; but such battles are 
not waged for nothing, and in his face something 
of the barbaric strength and savagery of elemental 
man were showing through the veneer of civiliza- 

On the day of his final conversation with Stir- 
ling he walked alone on one of the great bridges 
north of the city. He walked slowly, with massive 
brows lowered over sombre, brooding eyes, and 
suddenly he met Kate Randolph. 

She was holding out her hand, and reluctantly 
he brought his eyes and thoughts down to her. 

Under the toque of gray fur and violets, Kate's 
upturned face looked pale and tense. 

" Dan, what did the doctor in San Francisco 
say ? " she asked him. 

He bent his brows angrily. " What do you 
mean, Kate ? " 

" I know all about it." She drew in her breath 
quickly. " Don't look at me so, Dan. Papa did n't 
tell but" 


" It was n't papa's fault " she spoke in a hard 

voice. " I saw you come out of his office you 

did n't notice me and your face made me afraid, 

so I asked papa if anything was wrong; he 



would n't tell me. The next day you came again, 
and I crept downstairs and listened, Dan. I knelt 
by the keyhole for half an hour and I heard 
every word." 

He looked at her in silence, and she saw that his 
contempt was greater than his anger. 

" I had to do it, Dan," she said. " I had to do 
it. What did the San Francisco doctor say ? " 

He turned on his heel with a short laugh. He 
had wished to meet the world of men on equal 
terms as long as he could, and now his last foothold 
was gone. As for this girl, she was only one of 
the insects who carry poison. 

" Dan." The little face looked old. " Dan, do 
you think I am going to tell ? " 

" Is n't that what you listened for ? " 

The intense light in her eyes wavered like a 
flame in the wind. " How can I make you believe 
me? " she cried breathlessly. 

" I would n't waste time trying, if I were you," 
he answered. 

" How can I make you believe me ? " she re- 

" It is no great matter ; " he spoke more to him- 
self than to her. " A few months sooner or later, 
that is all." 

" Then there is no hope ! " With a pitiful, un- 


controllable gesture her hands moved towards him, 
and then she caught them in each other as if she 
would have wrung them off. She faced him in 
silence a moment longer ; then, " I have n't said I 
was sorry for you, Dan, and you ought to be grate- 
ful to me for that," she said, and the bitter, de> 
spairing misery in her eyes was one of the memo- 
ries that haunted Dan through the first months of 
his darkness. Kate turned and left him. Her 
face was that of a woman who has stood before the 
scorn of the man she loves. 

Walter saw Dan off at the steamer. 

" I wonder," said Dan, with a rare acquisition of 
wistf ulness, " I wonder, Wally, if I shall be able to 
see you when I get back." 

Walter wrung his hand. " It is breaking my 
heart, old boy." 

Dan smiled. " I would n't let it do that." 

" Perhaps the Paris doctor can do something." 

" Perhaps," answered Dan without conviction. 

" I had rather take it myself." 

" Don't be a fool, Wally. Can I give any mes- 
sages for you in Paris ? " 

Then Walter knew the real reason for the jour- 
ney. He went home cursing the wanton cruelty 
and huge stupidity of fate. 


In Paris, Dan hunted up the office of a world- 
famed oculist. 

" Have you come with hope ? " the Frenchman 
asked him, after completing an examination. 

" No," said Dan. 

" That is well, since I can give you none." He 
paused, looking at the tall, powerfully built Ameri- 

" C'est dur," he said reflectively. " You are a 
comparatively young man yet." 

" Thirty-two," Dan told him. 

" Tiens. I had thought you older. Oui, c'est 
dur. Mais que voulez-vous f C'estlavie. There 
are many others. Most of them get used to it, 
sooner or later sooner or later. You don't look 
as if you would get used to it easily." 

" I don't expect to," answered Dan dryly, as he 
rose. " Can you tell me how much longer my eyes 
are likely to last ? " 

The little doctor shrugged his shoulders. " Im- 
possible to say. It may be months, it may be 
weeks. Avoid late hours and many lights. I 
regret I can do nothing for you. My fee is peu 
de chose, thirty francs." 

Dan paid him the money, and went on his way 
wondering of what use was the man of science, 
since knowledge of worlds could not cure a diseased 


nerve, and of what use the so-called man of God, 
since he could only tell one stumbling in utter 
darkness to hope for possible light beyond, and to 
trust what no one has ever seen. 

He wandered aimlessly down the Boulevard des 
Italiens, his broad shoulders and gaunt featured 
face towering above the small, nimble Frenchmen. 
On passing the Opera House he read the announce- 
ment that Mademoiselle Winifred Meredith would 
make her debut there that night, in Verdi's Otello. 

Chapter VIII 


TELE gorgeous Paris Opera House, a fit expres- 
sion of the most brilliant, the most frivolous, 
the cleverest, and the wickedest people in the world, 
was rapidly filling. 

Slowly Daniel Howard moved down the centre 
aisle. Silent and sombre and massive in the midst 
of much laughter and dazzling scintillations from 
lights and jewels, he took his seat and stared at the 
great green curtain. His lips were dry, and his 
heart pounded like the screw of a steamer when the 
seas run high. 

He had forgotten himself, for the woman he loved 
was going to stand before this great audience, a 
candidate for their admiration or contempt. 

The overture began, and during the excited, por- 
tentous music of the first act he waited, tense and 
maddened, for the face he had last seen under the 
stars the face that had been tremulous, and pas- 
sionately questioning the power of love. At last 
there was a stir among the audience, a universal 


adjustment of opera glasses, and amid an expectant 
silence Winifred came on the great stage. 

She moved gracefully, quietly, with a delicate 
queenly poise, before hundreds of critical eyes. 
The next moment she was singing singing easily, 
joyously somewhat as he had heard her years 
ago in the poppy garden. 

And this was the same Winifred, his Winifred, 
the love of his youth, the deep need of his soul. 
Her singing, fresh and spontaneous, rang through 
his consciousness till its sweetness became a pain, 
the pain a passion, and the whole a love wilder and 
deeper than he had yet known. 

The man next to him tapped his arm, offering an 
opera glass. " Elle riest pas mal" he said criti- 
cally. Dan adjusted the glass to his eyes, wondering 
dully why he did not strangle the man where he sat. 
Through the powerful lens he saw her distinctly, 
and with an odd sense of familiarity and strange- 
ness traced the dearly loved features. " Elle a une 
belle voix," said his neighbor, addressing him again ; 
and a little later he added that she was a good 
actress. To these remarks Dan made no reply. 
They caused him unreasoning rage; but his head 
was clearing. He could look and listen with com- 
parative calm, for above and beyond his own pain 
grew the thought, "What matters it how I suffer, 


if she is happy ? " In her singing and acting he 
saw qualities of unrealized greatness; but to-day she 
was a good artist, and nothing more. Her voice 
was pure and strong, her acting intelligent, but her 
audience were unmoved save by respect and criti- 
cal admiration. There was no definite fault to 
find, and much to praise ; but certainly it was 
not for such success as this that Winifred had 

During the entr'acte he scribbled a few words to 
her on his card. 

" What time can I see you to-morrow ? " he 
wrote briefly, and procured an usher who promised 
to deliver it into her own hands. The reply came 
before the third act : " To-morrow after four," she 
had written. 

As the great tragedy gathered force for its close, 
Dan realized that Winifred was carrying her audi- 
ence as much by the invincible assurance of her per- 
sonality as by the excellence of her art. She failed 
to profit by the chance for pathos in the exquisite 
prayer of the last act ; but in Desdemona's sudden 
cry there was a passion and terror that startled, and 
proved her capable of stirring where she could not 

When the curtain dropped Winifred received 
several recalls from an appreciative but unenthusi- 


astic audience, and bowed her acknowledgment with 
a confident grace and reserve that gave no hint of 

Dan smiled. " It is so like the child to treat 
her audience as a queen treats her subjects," he 
thought. " After all, it is doubtless the best way. 
Audiences, like individuals, take you largely on your 
own estimation." But he knew that Winifred could 
not be content ; he knew that years of disappoint- 
ment and bitterness must be hers before the goal 
of success was reached, and he knew that she would 
struggle without faltering to the end. 

On his way out some one tapped him on the shoul- 
der, and he turned to face the doctor who had pro- 
nounced his final doom that morning. 

" My dear sir," said the little man, " this will 
not do. If you continue to put strains of this 
kind on your eyes, they will fail you piff sud- 
denly as one blows out a candle." 

Dan thanked him indifferently and would have 
passed on, but the Frenchman faced him with ear- 
nest professional scrutiny. " Have you any friends 
in Paris ? " he asked. 

Dan told him no. 

" Then go home at once. It would not be agree- 
able to go blind in a strange city. Perhaps you are 
with your wife." 



Dan looked at him as one might look at an ob- 
jectionable insect. 

" I have not asked your advice," he said. 

The doctor spread out his hands deprecatingly. 

" Mon cher monsieur, I am sorry I offended," he 
protested. There was a certain compassion in his 
eyes which Dan took to mean that it was not worth 
while resenting the words of a man who would soon 
be blind. He went out into the streets with his hat 
pulled over his eyes. He thought of Winifred bow- 
ing before the footlights in the days of triumph 
that would surely be hers : he thought of himself 
an object of pity through black years to come ; and 
then he thought of the dark river, slipping silently 
under granite bridges. 

Suddenly he became aware of intense pain in his 
eyes, and remembered the doctor's words : " Your 
eyes will fail suddenly as one blows out a candle." 
Dan wanted one more day of sight as he never could 
want anything again ; to stand before Winifred 
and see her face was the last and supreme wish of 
his life. But he made no appeal to infinite mercy. 
In these days of suffering he had never wavered in 
his belief that what God there was knew best ; he 
had never been weak enough to beg that eternal 
laws might be put aside for him, and now he did 
not pray, as men name prayer, but fought through 


the night with no help beyond the forces of his 
own soul and a belief in eternal wisdom. 

The dawn was so long in coming that he feared 
never to see another day, and with thanksgiving 
unspeakable saw at last the light filter through the 
folds of his window curtain, and familiar objects 
detach themselves from surrounding darkness. 

There were many hours still to be lived through 
before he could see Winifred, and he partially em- 
ployed them by engaging a passage on the next 
steamer, and cabling to Walter. 

At four o'clock he climbed the narrow stairway 
to her rooms. A maid opened the door and ushered 
him into a small antechamber where he heard 
laughter and excited voices from the room beyond. 
Dan had not expected this. 

" Mademoiselle is occupied ? " he asked. " I 
must see her alone." 

" Oui, Monsieur. I will present Monsieur's card 
to Mademoiselle." The little maid disappeared 
hastily. She was frightened by the gaunt sombre- 
ness of Dan's face. 

" Mon Dieu, quel homme ! I believe he is dan- 
gerous, and these foreigners are so big," she said 
to herself. 

There was another man in the anteroom. He 
addressed Dan in bad French. 


" Monsieur does not remember me ? " 

Dan looked him over carelessly. 

"I do not," he answered briefly, being in no 
humor for the elaborate veneer of French cour- 

" Permit me to recall myself. My name is von 
Reidnitz. Monsieur insulted me once, and since 
then I have not ceased to cherish the hope of re- 
venge. For the present the world is large enough 
for us both." 

" Doubtless, but the room is not." Dan stood 
carelessly with his hands in his pockets ; the in- 
difference of his attitude and the easy insolence of 
his words enraged the Austrian. He drew a fierce 

" It happens that I was just going, otherwise 
Monsieur has insulted me a second time. I offer 
Monsieur my card, and to-morrow my friends will 
call upon him." 

Dan laughed shortly, and tearing the card in 
two he tossed it into the grate. 

" Monsieur refuses my challenge ! " 

" You imagine yourself to be acting melodrama," 
said Dan in a casual tone. 

And then Winifred parted the curtains and 
stood before him, not an operatic prima donna, 
but the Win of old, fresh and true and wholesome. 


In the joy of seeing her a world of pain and long- 
ing slipped from his consciousness. 

" I am so glad to see you, Dan," she said, hold- 
ing out both hands with frank pleasure. "It is 
too bad all these people are here." She indicated 
her visitors with a girlish, backward nod. " But 
I felt I ought to see them ; they will go soon, and 
you can wait, can't you ? I am longing to know 
all you thought about last night." 

Dan said he could wait, and, with an indifferent 
acknowledgment to introductions, seated himself 
in a shadow and watched her. She was dressed in 
some white stuff that floated when she moved, and 
there were crimson roses near her throat. The 
effect was French, and he did not like it, though 
it gave her a subtle womanly charm that had not 
been hers in the days gone by. His eyes rested 
with relief on her smooth dark hair, which she 
wore in the old, simple, girlish fashion, brushed 
back loosely, and twisted in a heavy knot behind. 

Quite a circle of people were about her, and she 
talked to them with light-hearted gayety. Yet in 
some way she had changed. Public life had al- 
ready set its stamp on her. She had lost girlish 
gestures, exaggerated enthusiasms, and gained dig- 
nity and grace. There was a delicate poise to her 
head, which differed from the aggressive confidence 


of her girlhood. The somewhat abrupt lines of 
her personality had become rounded, and softened, 
and polished. The brown eyes were as direct and 
true as ever : fearless eyes, though one saw in their 
depths that they had looked on much ; innocent 
eyes that were no longer ignorant. 

The people round her, men particularly, were 
loud in praise of her last night's appearance. She 
took their compliments easily, with a certain 
charming insolence that was too delicate to offend, 
and conveyed a piquant sense of aloofness and in- 

Mrs. Smith, the chaperon, dispensed tea and 
propriety from a small table. She seemed used 
to being ignored. Minutes wore on, and Dan 
watched and waited. The air of the room was 
close and sweet with the perfume of flowers. The 
doorbell rang constantly to admit new visitors, 
and there was continual passing to and fro. Was 
this what he had come for ? A passion of pain 
and jealousy tore him. 

Still he waited, and watched Winifred in the 
flush of her young triumph, receiving adulation, 
surrounded by flowers. What would she think of 
him, halting and groping she who worshiped 
success and strength ? 

" My God ! " he cried under his breath. It was 


for this that he had waited all these years; for 
this to sit down in the dark and hear her go by 
in the distance. It was chiefly to lay them at her 
feet that he had worked to conquer wealth and 
fame, and now it was all over; the work of his 
life had gone for nothing ; he was to be turned to 
the wall like a worthless picture. 

Gradually the guests were leaving, and before 
he knew what was coming he was alone with her. 
She put her hands to her head with a weary little 

" I am so glad they have gone, and I am so glad 
you are here," she told him. 

He sat down by her in the dusk and firelight, 
and keeping well in the shadow himself, fed his 
eyes hungrily and despairingly on every line of her 

She leaned back in an attitude of physical list- 
lessness, and looked at him with a smile. " I 
think I am tired, for the first time in my life," she 
said. " It is so nice and restful to have you here, 
Dan ; but how do you happen to be in Paris at 
this season ? " 

He was noting that her hair had become loos- 
ened on one side, and thinking how lovely her eyes 
were with their shade of weariness. She had to 
repeat her words before he thought to answer. 


" Why are you here ? I suppose it is business." 

" Yes, business." 

" It is the most fortunate business I ever knew. 
Now tell me exactly what you thought of last 

He was striving to see her more distinctly, and 
realizing how nearly the darkness was upon him ; 
but aloud he said, " I think you will be a great 
artist some day." 

She sat up with an increase of animation. " You 
were disappointed ? " 


" I was. I am not satisfied ; I am not satisfied 
at all. Now I don't want you to try to comfort 
me. I want the truth." 

" Would you take my version of it ? " 

" Not unless it agreed with my own." She 
laughed a little. "Speaking seriously," she con- 
tinued, "speaking seriously, I should; for I can't 
see myself or hear myself as you see and hear 

It seemed to him that she had grown thinner, 
and he liked her better so ; but he was never to 
see her again. 

"One person says one thing, another says an- 
other," Winifred went on with troubled eyes. Ma- 
dame Alberto says I have not been touched by the 


'feu sacre.' Edith says the difficulty lies in the 
reserve and indifference of my nature. The news- 
papers say I am to be admired with tranquil pulses. 
But what is the remedy to all this ? I Dan, 
you are not listening to me ! " 

Forgive me, Winifred." He passed his hand 
across his forehead ; she was puzzled by the ges- 
ture, which was new to him. 

" I believe you are tired," she spoke kindly. 

" No. I am all right." Dan's lips were dry. 
He was saying good-by to her eyes, to her lips, to 
every line, and curve, and gesture. After this 
nothing could matter much. 

" It is growing dark. Could n't we have a light ? ' ' 
he asked. 

She looked surprised. 

" Of course ; but I thought you liked to sit in 
the dark." 

" I believe I did once." 

She rose to light a lamp. "I always do this 
myself," she explained ; " Marie makes it smoke 

He watched with wistful eagerness as the light 
grew on her face. Unconsciously he spoke her 

" Winifred." 

She turned to him with gravely wondering eyes. 


"I have always been Win to you as to every 
one. Only papa called me Winifred the day he 
died. Why have you called me Winifred twice 
to-night, Dan ? " 

Without answering he rose and came to where 
she stood with the light streaming full upon her. 
Her face was touched by the shadow of grave 
thoughts, and her eyes, dark, shining, and some- 
what questioning, were raised to his. Through the 
years to come he would remember her oftenest so. 

" You are not like yourself," she said. " I do 
not believe you are well. You ought not to work 
so hard." 

He was thinking how easy it would be to take 
her in his strong arms. Her voice came to him 
from a distance. 

" Last week Jack Allison passed through Paris," 
she was saying. " He told me you were looking ill 
and seemed irritable. This should not be, Dan. 
I can imagine you angry to the killing point ; but 
you are too large for irritability." 

It was necessary for him to pause before speak- 
ing. " I will do better in the future," he said. 

Some one knocked at the door. "Letters for 
Mademoiselle, and a box of flowers." 

Unreasoning rage seized upon Dan. " Who 
sends you flowers? " 



" A great many people ; there is safety in their 

As Winifred opened the box, the heavy odor of 
tuberoses filled the room. A card lay on the waxen 
mass, and at the sight of it her lips tightened. 
She replaced the cover on the box and handed 
it to Marie. " A man waits ? " 

" Oui, Mademoiselle." 

" I supposed so. Tell him there has been a mis- 
take. I do not receive flowers from Count C ." 

" Who is he ? " asked Dan when they were left 

" A horrid little roue who has been rather per- 

" And you subject yourself to these things." 
Dan drew in a deep, fierce breath. " There are 
other flowers here that you do receive." His voice 
was harsh. 

" Of course. It is part of my life. Don't be 
foolish, Dan ! " 

She motioned him to a seat ; but he remained 
standing before her, and she sighed somewhat im- 
patiently. It was certainly selfish of Dan to spoil 
her little triumphs by his personal feeling. She 
did not know that he had come three thousand 
miles to see her face for the last time. 

" And the life satisfies you? " he asked. 


" Yes." She spoke a little defiantly. 

" It is not the life for a high-bred woman." 

"A lady can be a lady always, everywhere." 
She met his eyes steadily. " Don't you trust me ? " 

" Utterly and for always." 

* Well, then ? " She spoke lightly. 

"You court admiration, when you might have 
love ; you cultivate brilliancy instead of tenderness. 
It is the century's lesson ; you are learning it too 
well." He was speaking with his lips to silence 
the words in his heart. 

" My dear Dan, have you come here to lecture 
me on woman's rights ? " she asked wearily. 

" No, I did not come here for that. Good-by, 

" Good-by ? Why, you have only just come 
you can't go. I want to know all you think of my 

" I think you have a great talent which you will 
use greatly when you have learned the lesson of 
love or pain." 

She smiled faintly. It was easier not to meet 
Dan's eyes. 

" I think you have said something of this sort 
before," she remarked, putting up her hands to 
unpin the roses from her throat. Their perfume 
made her faint. 



" Who gave them to you ? " he asked fiercely. 

" What right have you " But he crushed her 
hands, roses and all, in his. His face, hungry and 
savage, bent close to hers, and a great oath crashed 
through his set teeth. 

" Dan ! " she whispered, " Dan ! " And her ter- 
rified eyes appealed to him as they had done once 
before, when they had been boy and girl together, 
and she had fallen into deep water. The shock of 
the memory made him reel. 

"My God, my God! what have I done?" he 
cried, releasing her. " Winifred forgive me ; " 
with infinite tenderness he took her hands into 
both of his big trembling ones. " Winifred, for- 
give me. I am going now " His deep voice 

" Winifred " he looked at her with dumb, im- 
ploring eyes " Winifred, little Win, I 'm going. 
Tell me first that up to this moment I never hurt 
you that I have not brought shadows across your 

" You have always brought what was good and 
happy," she spoke tremulously, forgiving him since 
his face showed so great a pain. 

" Thank God ! " he said, and bending he kissed 
her hand as one going into the valley of shadows 
kisses the holiest and loveliest thing he leaves be- 


hind. For a moment longer his eyes lingered on 
her, and then he was gone. 

A little later Edith came in quickly. 

" What have you been doing to Dan Howard ? " 
she asked excitedly of Winifred, who stood with a 
pale face where he had left her. 

" I have done nothing," she answered. 

" I met him just now on the stairs. He did not 
know me till I got quite close, and then his face 
frightened me." 

" I have done nothing," she repeated. 

"Nothing! Nothing! All these years you 
have taken the best of him, to send him away with 
empty hands at last and it is nothing." 

Winifred disregarded the reproaches. " Dan 
must be in some great trouble," she said, and drew 
in her breath quickly. " How could I let him go ? " 
Her own partial success looked pale and worthless 
beside the memory of Dan's face, and the broken, 
despairing tenderness of his last words. 

" I must write to him," she moved to her desk. 
Then her hands dropped helplessly. " I don't know 
his address! " she exclaimed. "He did not tell me 
where he was staying." 

The girls stared at each other speechless, with 
a sense of disaster unjustified by circumstances. 
Then Edith flung out her hands. 


"You put aside his love for the sake of what 
you called success," she cried, " and now you have 
let him go, and nothing so much worth while will 
ever come into your life again ! Oh, Winifred, 
you have been a fool ! a fool ! a fool ! " 

Chapter IX 


THAT night, as Dan passed through the court- 
yard of his hotel, he again came face to face 
with the little French specialist. 

" I followed you in here," said the latter. " I 
have been thinking over your case. Would you 
be willing to take a risk ? " 

" What do you mean ? " demanded Dan, stand- 
ing above him. 

" Small chance and much danger," continued the 
doctor. " Do you care to try ? " 

" You speak of an operation ? " 

" Precisely. Whom did you see last ? " 

"Dr. Davage." 

" And he advised nothing of the sort ? " 

" Nothing." 

" Hum il s'y connait. Pourtant one might 
try, one might also hesitate." 

" How great is the chance ? " 

" Very small, my friend, almost invisible." 

"What is the danger?" 


" Greatly increased loss of sight." 

"Can the operation be performed to-morrow?" 

" The sooner the better. But you should con- 
sider it well." 

" It does not need consideration. Be so good as 
to fix the hour and place." 

" Mon Dieu ! and they say we French move 
quickly ! If you come to my office to-morrow at 
nine o'clock we can arrange details. But first I 
beg of Monsieur not to take offense but first it 
would be well to notify some friend, some acquaint- 
ance even. If the worst should come Monsieur 
speaks French well, but without the eyes and 
alone in a strange city." 

"At nine to-morrow, you say?" Dan spoke 

" At nine to-morrow ; and remember I promise 
little, and fear much. Think well before you come. 
Au revoir, Monsieur. Think well." 

One day early in March, Walter received a ca- 
blegram from Dan. " Sailing in the C , March 

3d. Meet me or send Stirling," the message ran. 
A week later he was waiting on the wharf for the 
great ocean liner. 

He was impatient and anxious, and spoke ab- 
sent-mindedly to the few acquaintances he met. 


Over and over he asked himself the meaning of the 
cable. Dan's doom must be already upon him, that 
he had asked to be met. The March wind was 
cold ; low-flying hurrying clouds looked eager and 
angry. The harbor waters were dark and troubled 
by ungainly ferryboats and aggressive tugs, which 
plied their way here and there with much noise and 
disturbance. Everywhere was gloom and apparent 
chaos, which seemed natural enough since Dan was 
going blind. Stirling appeared suddenly from an 
inconspicuous corner. 

" I don't think there 's any need of your stay- 
ing," Walter told him. 

" I want to stay," answered Stirling. " I won't 
be in the way," he added. 

The man and the boy, who were almost strangers, 
looked into each other's eyes, and finding a common 
grief, grasped hands silently. 

" I suppose it 's all up with him," said Walter, 
as they fell in pace side by side. 

" He may have only wanted to make sure of us 
in case anything happened on the voyage," sug- 
gested Stirling. 

" Why, that 's so ! I never thought of that." 
Then Walter added with quick hopefulness, " Per- 
haps he is better ; perhaps the Paris doctor could 
cure him." 



"No, he would not have cabled in that case," 
objected Stirling. Then he fixed his quiet, obser- 
vant eyes on Walter. " Why did Mr. Howard go 
to Paris ? " he asked. 

The older man betrayed himself by a minute's 

" He said it was to consult an oculist," he an- 

" Did you believe him ? " 

"Why not?" 

" I did n't." 

Walter turned up the collar of his coat and set- 
tled his chin into it. " It is little good he will get 
out of whatever he goes for," he said, with gloomy 

" You don't mean that she does n't care for 

"She? who?" 

" The woman he went abroad to see." 

Walter glanced suspiciously over the edge of 
his collar. " Look here," he said. " I did n't tell 
you that, did I ? " 

Stirling smiled a little. " No, you did n't exactly 
tell me." 

Walter felt something akin to awe of this slight, 
pale-faced boy. " I suppose it's your legal training," 
he remarked inconsequently. " Is this process to 


which you have subjected me commonly known as 
cross-examination ? " 

"Not exactly." Stirling smiled again. He 
was thinking that law cases would be vastly sim- 
plified if all witnesses were as ingenuous as this 
big, gentle-eyed man. 

" How did you happen to settle upon a woman 
as the reason of Dan's trip ? " asked Walter. 

"By the process of elimination. I could see 
the doctor was only an excuse, and owing to his 
dependence on my eyes I knew he could have few 
or no business secrets from me. So I argued that 
it must be a personal matter; but only about a 
woman would a man be so secretive. The day he 
sailed he said I was to open all his letters save any 
that might come from Paris. One came a few days 
later, and it was in a woman's handwriting. I sup- 
posed he had crossed the ocean to ask her to marry 

Walter shook his head. "Dan will never do 
that now." 

" Why not ? " There was no longer occasion 
for shrewd suspicion of superficial motives, and 
Stirling was talking like a boy again. 

"He wouldn't think it right if he were blind." 

" But if they loved each other ? " 

" He would n't think it honorable even then." 


" She might." 

" Yes she might." 

" You mean she does n't care for him? " 

" I don't mean anything. He never mentions 
her name to me. I know no more than the rest of 
his acquaintances." 

Stirling longed to know more, and did not doubt 
his ability to entrap Walter into a partial confes- 
sion, but a nice sense of honor kept him silent. 

They paced the dismal, draughty place for some 
time without speaking. There was a growing bus- 
tle from cabmen and custom-house officials; but 
no steamer came in sight. 

At last they paused on the edge of the wharf and 
looked seaward. 

" There she is ! " cried Stirling suddenly. 

" You 're right," said Walter, and in silence they 
watched the ocean monster enter the harbor. 

"I wish it were over," said Stirling, at last. 

" If it were any one in the world but Dan." 
Walter's voice was husky. 

" I know," answered Stirling. For a moment 
Walter dropped his eyes from the incoming steamer 
to the boy's face. 

" You have n't known him long." 

Stirling kept his face turned seaward. " He 
has been very generous about helping me with 


money to move my mother, and but it isn't 
only that." 

" I know," said Walter in his turn. 

They were silent again till the steamer came near 
enough for the faces to be distinguished. 

" Do you see him ? " asked Walter. 

"Not yet." 

A little crowd pressed to the edge of the wharf. 
Some one jostled Garrison's shoulder. 

" Waiting for Daniel Howard ? " asked a man's 


"So am I." Walter recognized a prominent 

" What do you want of him ? " he asked. " He 

he is not well." 

" Sorry to hear that. We want him to speak 
next Thursday at a meeting of the sound-money 

" He won't do it," said Walter. 

" Well, I guess I '11 give him the chance," drawled 
the man. 

" I see him," cried Stirling quickly. " There, 
standing by one of those what do you call 'em ? 

they look like magnified trumpets and are painted 
red inside. He is talking to a steward, he is feeing 
him he is all right ! " 



" I see him, dear old Dan. Yes, lie is all right.*' 

Walter wrung Stirling's hand. 

" Perhaps he is cured." 

" Why did he cable, then ? " 

In a little while the gang-plank was flung to the 
steamer's deck, and an eager stream of passengers 
passed over it. Dan, walking leisurely, came down 
among the last. 

"Well, Dan," was Walter's only greeting as 
he grasped his hand. 

" So you came," answered Dan. " I did n't need 
you, but I thought I might. Hullo, Stirling, you 
here too ? I could n't have needed you both in any 

" I wanted to come," explained the boy. 

" That 's all right. Who is this ? " 

The politician stepped up. " Don't you remem- 
ber me, Mr. Howard ? I am Jim Allison of " 
He passed his arm through Dan's and drew him to 
one side. 

" Will he do it?" asked Stirling. 


" How can he now ? " 

" That 's Dan," answered Walter. 

The conference was a short one, and Dan dis- 
missed the man with a careless nod. 

" Are you going to speak for him ? " asked Walter. 


" Yes ; I have wanted a fling on the sound money 
question for some time." 

" Is this the time to have it? " 

" It is as good as any other." 

" Are you better ? " 

" No, it is pretty bad ; and there is always the 
satisfaction of knowing it will be worse before it is 
better," answered Dan with an attempt to smile. 
"The operation left me so much worse, that I 
did n't expect to be able to find my way down the 
gangway alone by the time I reached home." 

" The operation ! " exclaimed Walter. " You 
said nothing to me of that." 

" There was little to say. I was offered the pro- 
bability of immediate increase in loss of sight, for 
the improbability of arresting the disease. Natu- 
rally, I took the chance and lost it." 

Walter offered no sympathy. " You ought to 
have cabled me," he said. " One of us could have 
gone over." 

" Sometimes I think you are more of a fool than 
most of us, Wally," was the answer. " But I 
won't deny that I wanted you rather. It was 
dismal coming out of it." 

In Dan's worn, deeply lined face there was more 
of gravity and less of harshness than when he went 
away, and his lips were showing something of the 


austere strength which was to be theirs in the years 
to come. 

After Stirling had been sent to the office for some 
business papers, the two friends drove home almost 
in silence. Once within the old room Dan put a 
strong hand on his friend's shoulder and wheeled 
him to the window. 

" I want to have a look at you," he said ; and 
looking, the lines in his face softened somewhat. 

"It is good to see you again," he commented at 
last. " I can see you right enough in this light. I 
thought I could n't, at the wharf." The two men 
faced each other a little longer in silence ; then Dan 

"Do you remember where we used to hide our 
fishing tackle on old Scotch Henty's farm ? " he 
risked, with a half quizzical, half wistful look which 
sat oddly on his gaunt face. 

Walter nodded in silence. 

" I wonder how many of his Scotch oaths we could 
remember now," went on Dan. " We used to share 
our luncheon in those days ; we have shared nearly 
everything since ; but the time has come when we 
share things no longer. Lucky for you we don't, 
is n't it, Wally?" 

Walter shook off the detaining hand and paced 
the room, swearing softly under his breath. For a 


little while Dan watched him in silence ; then he 
clapped him on the back with rough affection. 

" Dinna greet for me, lad," he said. " Dinna 
greet. I sha'n't be found wanting when the hour 

He shook his huge frame as a dog shakes off 
water after a bath. 

"Just now I feel like a smoke," he went on. 
" Give me a light and tell me the news." 

Walter hesitated. " I had a letter this morning 
that might interest you," he said, and handed him 
an envelope with a foreign stamp. " Can you make 
it out?" 

"I '11 try; is it legible ?" 

Dan walked to the window, and as his back was 
turned Walter could not see if his face changed 
when he recognized Winifred's firm handwriting. 
The note was short : 

MY DEAR MR. GARRISON (it ran). Will you 
kindly send me Mr. Howard's address? or else 
some news of him ? I saw him a short time ago, 
looking so ill and seeming so unlike himself that 
I am troubled, particularly as I have had no word 
from him since then, and he left me neither ad- 
dress nor clue to future movements. 

Sincerely yours, WINIFRED MEREDITH. 


Dan took a long time to read these few words, 
whether from failing sight or emotion Walter could 
only guess. When he turned round his face was 

" What do you want me to do ? " asked Walter. 
" Shall you answer it yourself ? " 

" No," said Dan. " I should like you to write 
her that I am at home and well." 

"Only that?" 

" Only that." 

" Then you have not told her " 

" No." 

Walter took another turn down the room and 
tugged at his mustache. 

" Of course you know she will have the right to 
feel hurt." 

" Yes, I know." 

" Let me tell her on my own account." 

Dan knocked the ashes from his cigar before 

" There is no use in troubling her about it," he 
said slowly. " I don't care to discuss it. There 
is only one thing to do. I am doing it, as you 
would in my place." 

By a reluctant silence Walter acknowledged 
Dan to be in the right. It is an obvious point 
in masculine ethics that a man who cannot see to 


walk by himself must not ask a woman to walk 
with him. 

During the afternoon Stirling returned accord- 
ing to directions. 

" You 're not going to do business now ! " ex- 
claimed Walter. 

" Why not ? " 

" Better come to the club" 

"No. It bothers me not to recognize people. 
Has any one got wind of it ? " 

" Not that I know of." 

" You had better go to the club yourself. Now, 
then, Stirling." 

Instead of going to the club Walter took a long, 
never-to-be-forgotten walk. He would have given 
his life over and over to save Dan, but apparently 
God did not want his life. Nothing but Dan's 
eyesight would do. As men go, Walter was a 
good churchman ; his creed was simple, compre- 
hensive, and up to this moment had been equal to 
all demands put upon it, but to-day the founda- 
tions of his belief rocked. Walter was not one to 
read universal meanings, or to see beyond the hour. 
It could not be for the best that Dan should go 
blind, and so, in this hour of doubt and pain, 
Walter unconsciously took Dan's side against the 
Infinite Powers. 



He went home to find Dan standing with his 
back to the empty fireplace, this being a mascu- 
line, if somewhat incomprehensible, attitude to 
which he was especially prone. Stirling was put- 
ting papers together. 

" Come in, Wally," said Dan. " We sha'n't 
worry you with any more work to-day. It is grow- 
ing dark and I can't afford to lose Stirling's eyes 
as well as my own." 

He spoke in a casual tone of easy self-posses- 
sion which was in strong contrast to Walter's de- 
spairing gloom, and Stirling's dumb, watchful 

"How did your mother stand the move?" he 
asked Stirling. 

" Very well," began the boy eagerly. "I we 
can never thank you enough for " 

"Nonsense," broke in Dan, who had not out- 
grown a ludicrous objection to being thanked. 
" Did she resent your being used as another man's 

" She was as proud of my connection with you 
as I am myself." 

" Ah, proud, you say ? I should n't have thought 
of it in that light ; there is little to be proud of in 
connection with me. I suppose your mother and 
sister think you a very remarkable young man." 


" They do exaggerate things a good deal," said 
Stirling modestly. 

" Yes, mothers and sisters have that way, I be- 
lieve. They endow you with all their own virtues 
and add a few, such as courage and strength, 
wrongly supposed to be purely masculine. You 
have one great objection, Stirling : you are too good 
to be sworn at." 

" I hope I shall never give you occasion for 
that," answered the boy seriously. 

Dan reflected a few moments. " Stirling," he 
said at length, " did you ever suspect yourself to 
be lacking in a sense of humor ? " 

" No, sir," he answered, evidently puzzled. " I 
never thought about it." 

" So I imagined. It is a pity, for it would help 
things along amazingly. Well, never mind. You 
may go now ; I shall not need you again this even- 

The next day Dan went over some of the per- 
sonal effects for which he could no longer find use. 
There were his books, collected during the brief 
years of his youth, when he had found time for 
gratifying his love of the best in literature, and 
satisfying his thirst for knowledge of the. great 
thoughts of great minds. The dust lay on his 
book -shelves now, but he passed his hands over 


them with affection. There was a goodly company 
of Greeks and Latins and the English classics, a 
list of immortal names dear to the scholar's heart, 
and a fair representation of German philosophers. 
Voltaire and Rousseau were side by side, and Dan 
smiled. Certainly his taste for reading had been 
catholic. On the lower shelves were the modern 
poets of modern tongues, and many a well-thumbed 
volume of political economy, social reform, and 
the revolutionary philosophy of the nineteenth cen- 

Dan reflected that he had certainly made the 
best of life while it had been under his own order- 
ing, nor had the light of his eyes been wasted. 
Had action tempted him less, scholarship had 
tempted him more ; as it was, he had secretly 
nourished visions of years to come when he could 
own a library of worth, and enjoy it with Winifred. 
He smiled now at the futility of his dream. There 
had been two summers when Winifred had learned 
and read Greek with him. He was proud to re- 
member her appreciation of the rugged, remote 
sublimity of ^Eschylus, and her enjoyment of the 
more human and versatile Sophocles. He could 
never read a line of his books again, and was puz- 
zled to know how to dispose of them. There was 
Winifred ; but she no longer cared for books. 


The vision of a life before the world had dazzled 
her eyes. He knew that her ambition was more 
the result of abundant vitality than of desire for 
gratified vanity, but in the mean time it sucked the 
life of her mind like a vampire. When she had 
conquered the longed-for lands she would find how 
little they were worth, and then, but not till then, 
would she recognize her own. He decided to keep 
his little library in expectation of a day when they 
might find room in her house and mind. There 
was no one else to want them ! Few men were as 
detached from ties of relationship as himself, and 
he was glad now that there was neither father, 
mother, nor sister to grieve when he entered into 
the life that was no life, the death that was no 

In a carefully locked drawer were Winifred's 
letters, everything she had ever written him since 
the day he first knew and told her of his love. 
The package was not large, for she had never 
been a good correspondent. He undid the twine 
that held it, and slowly, one by one, he handled 
the letters. The handwriting was blurred to his 
failing sight, but one of the envelopes, addressed 
in larger letters than the others, he opened and 
read : " You are always so cross when I thank you 
for anything ; but please let me say how delighted 


I was with " Then the letters grew dim and 
confused under his eyes. The words were from 
the past of his dead hope and living love. With 
the letter crushed in his hand he stretched his 
arms across the table and dropped his head on 
them. So he stayed during the long sunny after- 
noon ; but when the dusk came he rose, and gather- 
ing up her letters, burned them one by one in the 
empty grate. 

It was several days after this that he came home 
late to find Walter waiting for him with ill-con- 
cealed anxiety. 

" What did you suppose had happened to me ? " 
Dan dropped into a chair and stretched his long 
legs. " Don't make me feel like a child under 
orders any sooner than is necessary," he said. 

Walter paced the room. "There are the 
churches," he suggested, doubtfully and relevantly 
of nothing. 

" Not for me," was the answer. " There are 
questions to which a man may find the answer only 
in his own soul." 

"I wish I could say something," Walter said 

" I am so glad you can't." 

" How is it going ? " 

" Time allowance is getting short." 


" Do you still have pain ? I heard you walking 
your room last night." 

" I should n't mind the pain if every attack did 
not take something from my sight." 

Walter made an inarticulate exclamation, then 
he said aloud, " If you only would n't be so infer- 
nally uncomplaining about it." 

" Bah ! I am not a dog to whine," answered 
Dan. Then he added more gravely, " I can't be 
peevish, it 's rather too solemn this slow passing 
from light into darkness. It is the renunciation of 
life without the release of death," he added a little 
later, which was the only revelation of personal 
feeling he was ever heard to make. 

Chapter X 


A FEW days later Dan came into Walter's 
office late in the afternoon. 

" Have you anything on for this evening ? " he 
asked, " because if you have n't I should like you 
to go with me to the political meeting at which I 
have been asked to speak." 

" That 's all right," answered Walter. " Wait 
a moment ; I '11 go along with you now, if you 're 
going home." 

" I want you to come because I hate being alone 
in a crowd," explained Dan a little later, as they 
pushed their way through the streets. " My nerve 
is going," he added with grim disgust. 

Walter looked into the haggard face. " Your 
nerve would be all right if you would go to bed at 
reasonable hours," he suggested. 

Dan shook his head. " It is n't that. I am a 

coward," he said. " I am afraid every minute of 

the day and night of being suddenly left in the 

dark. I can't cross these down-town streets with 



out getting damp with fear, because I don't make 
out which way the cars are going till they get on 
to me." 

As he spoke they stood on the edge of a great 
thoroughfare swarming with electric cars and teams. 
Walter slipped his arm through Dan's. 

" Come along with me," he said. The help was 
accepted in silence, and Dan learned his first agoniz- 
ing lesson of dependence. 

" What a pity there is such a prejudice against 
sending bullets through the hearts of superfluous 
human wretches ! " he remarked. 

That night Dan spoke, and Walter watched him 
anxiously from a front bench. " The light is badly 
arranged ; it must trouble him," he thought, look- 
ing with disgust at a powerful electric jet that was 
suspended from the ceiling almost on a line with 
the speaker's eyes. 

Dan was not at his best. He showed his usual 
grasp of the situation in its entirety as well as in 
technical detail, and there were occasional flashes 
of subtle wit, stinging rather than humorous ; but 
in every tone and gesture there was a sense of 
effort, and the usual compelling magnetism of his 
personality was lacking. The audience listened 
attentively, partly convinced by his unanswerable 
logic, but unenthusiastic. Suddenly Dan's voice 


faltered and a gray shadow fell on his face. With 
bent head his body swayed forward till his hand 
rested heavily on the table beside him. 

There was a moment of breathless silence, and 
then an uncomfortable movement throughout the 
hall. A friend on the platform stepped for- 
ward quickly and said a few words in his ear. 
Walter hurried to the stage, but as he entered 
the door Dan raised his head with the movement 
of a hunted animal at bay, and began to speak 
again. His words came slowly, doubtfully at first, 
but with increasing confidence and power, till 
Walter's fear was lost in wonder. He felt the 
pulse of the great assembly quicken and vibrate in 
response to an eloquence that was new to Dan. 
Never had he spoken with the nobility of thought, 
with the breadth and passion that were his in this 
hour. Campaigning issues were forgotten ; a poli- 
tician was not speaking to a party, but a statesman 
to a people, and the crowd were moved by his words 
as a grain-field is swayed by the wind. 

In the breathlessness of that awful moment when 
he stood bowed and dumb before the great audi- 
ence, blindness had come to Dan. Every force of 
the man's being rose to meet the occasion, and so 
far overleaped it that he could command mind, 
nerve, and people. His convictions, sluggish be- 


fore, were forged in the white-hot passion of his 
suffering ; his mind and will, strengthened by 
months of conquering struggle, rose triumphant 
over this moment of supreme pain. 

There is no power greater or more mysterious 
than that of eloquence ; there is no race more 
easily fired by it than the shrewd, proverbially 
calculating American. On this night the man 
must believe where the reason was unconvinced. 
The dishonest were honest. Those who had lived 
sordidly found themselves thinking loftily. Those 
who had known nothing beyond party issues were 
aglow with patriotism. In this electric hour men 
were not what they had been, but what the speaker 
chose them to be, and none present ever forgot 
the ringing words, or the pale impassioned face 
of the young orator as he stood in the glare of the 
lights, pleading for the integrity of our national 

As the last sentence died away Dan put out his 
hands, and staggered with a groan that was lost in 
the wild applause that greeted the close of his 
speech. Several people sprang to his side, but 
Walter reached him first and led him away. There 
was much shouting, and whistling, and insistent calls 
for his reappearance. Some excited young spirits 
struck up " The Star Spangled Banner," which 


was taken up by many voices in many keys. The 
walls shook with noise and the shuffling of feet. In 
the midst of the confusion an opposition leader 
struggled to the platform and tried to make him- 
self heard, but his words were drowned and his 
passionate gestures were futile and ridiculous in the 
babel. The people roared at him good-naturedly. 
A few cool heads came together to discuss the 
speech, and the speaker. It had been a big speech, 
they said, and Howard was going to be a big man, 
a dangerous man possibly, a power to be reck- 
oned with by the coming administration. 

" He is an honest man," said one. 

" Yes, and he will make other men honest, curse 
him ! " was the answer, and then individual words 
were drowned in another wave of enthusiasm, and 
there were ringing cheers and calls for Daniel 
Howard, who never came. 

In the coat-room he reeled like a drunken man, 
and clung to Walter. " Don't leave me," he said 
hoarsely. " It has come." 

" Yes, I know. Steady, boy. I am not going 
far just to get our coats." 

" Take me with you," he pleaded. 

So Walter took him, and while hundreds of 
voices shouted his name in the hall they had left, 
Dan stood a broken, helpless man, clinging to his 


friend's arm with groping fingers. " It came 
suddenly before I got through speaking," he 

" I know," answered Walter again. 

They went out into the lighted streets, and the 
agony of the hours that followed was burned for- 
ever into the consciousness of both. Dan refused 
to be taken home, and they walked all night 
through a driving rain and bitter wind. He was 
maddened with physical pain that did not subside 
with loss of sight, and after the long strain of sleep- 
less nights and mental anguish his nerves had given 
way. He lurched heavily in walking and blamed 
Walter for letting him stumble, and there were ter- 
rible times when he fought for the light with his 
hands, as a drowning man fights for air. At those 
moments Walter held him with all his strength and 
with a prayer on his lips. The night seemed an 
aeon of chaotic and hideous darkness. It was not 
till the east grew pale that Dan allowed himself to 
be forced upon a bench, and, leaning his head 
against a tree behind him, fell into the unconscious- 
ness of utter exhaustion. 

They had come out of the city, and Walter, 
wide-eyed and alert, waited beside his friend, 
watching the black outline of distant houses de- 
tach itself from a brightening sky, while the rain 


ceased, the clouds drifted seaward, and the stars, 
immeasurably serene and distant, faded from his 

In a gray dawn the earth lay spent and still and 
ghostly, exhausted from the storm of the night, and 
in the growing light Walter could see Dan's face, 
weary and spent also, but quiet at last. The com- 
ing day sent a breath out from the east, the naked 
trees stirred, and there was an undefined whisper 
of awakening life through the fields and woods. 
Suddenly the sun shot up, glorious and mighty ; a 
thousand voices answered his joyous challenge, and 
the brown earth was on fire with sparkling rain- 

Dan moved and opened his eyes. The sun shone 
straight into them, but could bring no life or light 
there. For a few moments he was silent. His face 
looked too weary for further emotion ; then he 
raised his head and put out his hand. 

" You are there, Walter ? " he asked. 

Walter slipped his arm round Dan's shoulders. 
" Yes, old man. Shall we go home now ? " Then 
he feared the unwonted gentleness of his tone 
might be resented, but Dan appeared to notice 
neither words nor gesture. He did not speak again 
at once. 

" Are we in the country ? " he asked finally in a 


strangely dead voice. "I seem to hear things 

" Yes, nearly as far as Newton." 

" Is it daylight ? " 

" The sun rose about five minutes ago." 

" The sun rose five minutes ago." Dan repeated 
the words slowly and paused as if adjusting him- 
self to the fact, but there was no change in the 
utterly weary lines of his face. He rose heavily. 
" Let us go home," he said, but after walking a few 
steps he stopped. " We must find a cab or some- 
thing," he announced. " I am done up. I have 
been down to hell, and don't feel sure I am back 

They were near a small suburb where a carriage 
was easily obtainable in spite of the hour. Almost 
in silence they drove home. Dan shivered once 
and felt wonderingly of his coat, then of Walter's. 

" We are wet," he said. " It must have rained." 

"It did, nearly all night." 

"I never noticed it. It can't have been good 
for your neuralgia." 

" That 's all right," said Walter, somewhat in- 
articulately. He put his hand on Dan's knee and 
neither of them spoke again. When the carriage 
drew up before their lodgings, the city was well 
awake, and by the time Dan had been laboriously 


and distressfully gotten into dry clothes, and pre- 
vailed upon to take a cup of tea, it was time to go 
down town. 

" Are you here still, Walter ? " asked Dan ; he sat 
in an armchair with his head sunk on his chest. 

Walter put his hand on Dan's shoulder. 

" Dan old fellow " he said brokenly. 

" Yes, I understand ; don't try to say it, 

Walter's breath labored with a great sob. 

" We can't have any of that," said Dan. " You 
had better go ; I heard the clock strike ; I am 
best alone." 

" I '11 behave myself if you let me stay." 

"No. I must fight it out alone. There is a 
strangeness and horror just at first ; but there 's 
the satisfaction of knowing that there 's plenty 
of time in which to get used to it." He spoke with 
effort through stiffened lips. 

" Can't I do something for you down town ? " 

"Go to the office, and tell Stirling and the 
others. Stirling can come round to-morrow." 

"Anything else?" 

Dan collected his thoughts with evident diffi- 
culty. " I had an appointment at the club with 
Rowland, and one or two others. Tell 'em I 
can't go because I am blind. But tell 'em I am all 


right ; they are not to come round to sympathize 
and all that." 

Reluctantly Walter left him and heard the key 
turn on the inside of the study door as he closed it. 
The sound startled him. He paused and rattled 
the handle. 

" Unless you swear not to do anything rash, I '11 
break down the door," he called. 

" Don't be an ass," came Dan's voice with some- 
thing of its old spirit. "What do you take me 

Walter was satisfied. From Dan bowed in his 
armchair, from the despair of Dan's ruined life, 
and the tragedy of Dan's sightless eyes, Walter 
went into the busy streets. In his slow deep way 
he almost hated the light and life, because Dan 
could no longer share them. 

The morning papers were full of the great 
speech ; they spoke in flowery language of " the 
young orator whose star had just risen above the 
nation's horizon." Walter read with a set face. 
He felt like dashing his head against the wall in 
impotent rage and pain. When he entered Dan's 
office, Stirling rose to meet him with a pale, ques- 
tioning face. 

" Has it " he began. 

Walter nodded. 



" Last night at the speech ? " questioned Stir- 

Walter nodded again. 

" I thought so. I was there." There was a 
short silence. Stirling mechanically put some 
papers together, and the two men in Dan's em- 
ployment looked up inquiringly. 

" Does he want me ? " 

" To-morrow. Tell the other fellows ; I can't." 

One of the men rose and came forward. " Mr. 
Howard spoke to us himself yesterday," he said. 

" It 's all up with him to-day," said Walter. 

" That 's a pretty close call ; we ought to have 
been told sooner," said the man. " 1 am more 
sorry for Mr. Howard than I ever was for any one 
in my life ; but business is business. I can't af- 
ford to trust my fortunes with a man handicapped 
by blindness." 

" Better get out of the office then," said Walter, 
goaded into unusual roughness. 

" And lose my half-year's pay ? " 

" You '11 get it all right," said Stirling, flushing 

" What security have I of that ? " 

" Mr. Howard's word." 

*' Ah, I did n't know you were in his confidence. 
Then I guess I '11 go. Coming with me, Cooledge ? " 


" No," said the other. 

" Nonsense, man ; business is business." 

"I stay as matter of business. I had rather 
trust my fortune with Mr. Howard blind than with 
most lawyers who can see." 

" And I had rather lose a fortune with Mr. 
Howard than make it with any other," said the boy 

Walter listened dully to this discussion. " I had 
better be going," he interrupted. " Be sure you 
come round early to-morrow." 

Stirling followed him to the door. " I wish I 
might go to-day," he said wistfully. 

" Better not ; you know how he is when he says 
a thing." 

Stirling still lingered. " Tell him " he began, 
then added quickly, " No, there is nothing one can 
tell him." 

" That 's just it," said Walter. He moved and 
spoke like one in a stupor ; the whole world might 
die or suffer, but Dan 

Before night he was besieged by questions from 
friends and reporters. There was nothing to tell 
except the bald fact that Daniel Howard had gone 
stone blind ; but as facts go, this was a startling 
one. At the clubs little else was talked of. 

" Howard, of all men ! " was the most usual ex- 


clamation. " Poor fellow, does he take it hard ? " 
asked one of his friends. 

" How would you expect him to take it?" asked 
Walter angrily. 

"Jove! I know how I'd take it!" exclaimed 
a prominent stock broker. " I 'd knock my brains 
out against the first stone I stumbled over." 

"I shouldn't wait to stumble," said the first 
speaker. " Imagine Daniel Howard stumbling ! " 

There were many things for Walter to do that 
day, and all the time he saw Dan sitting alone in 
the dark. There were moments when he heard 
again the click of the turning lock. Why had Dan 
locked himself in ? He shivered as he ran up the 
stairs of his lodgings two hours earlier than usual. 
The door opened easily to his hand, and all he found 
was a lonely man who had grown old in a single 
day, and on whom some mysterious seal had already 
descended which set him forever apart from other 



Chapter XI 


MRS. RANDOLPH and her daughter sat 
over their French coffee and rolls. It was 
a warm day for March, even in Paris, and the 
windows were carefully shaded by Venetian blinds ; 
but the blinds had been long unused ; they fastened 
imperfectly, so that a ray of sunlight strayed 
through them and rested on Kate's face, and 
Kate's mother was looking at her with sudden 

" She is growing old," Mrs. Randolph told her- 
self. " You are not eating anything," she said 

" I can't, mamma ; food chokes me. Are you 
quite sure there was no American mail last night ? 
Did Louise ask the concierge ? " 

" I told her to do so. Try to eat something, 
Kate. It is not becoming to you to be thin." 

" I know it I shall be a very plain old maid. 
I wish papa would write. It is not kind to leave 
us so long without home news." 


"What are you expecting to hear? You are 
not usually so anxious for news from Boston." 

Kate was silent. 

" Your father does n't often trouble us with let- 
ters," continued her mother tranquilly. 

" No, he is too good for us." 

" My dear ! " Mrs. Randolph put down her cup 
and looked at Kate with displeasure. " My dear ! 
I think you are forgetting yourself." 

" On the contrary, mamma, I am remember- 
ing." Kate pushed back her chair and flung her- 
self on the sofa. There was abandoned misery in 
her attitude, and in her face something that neither 
years nor illness could explain. Mrs. Randolph 
understood little, but felt that the time had come to 

" Kate, my dear," she began. 

Kate did not answer. 

" Do you hear me, Kate ?" 

" Yes, mamma." 

" I want to speak to you." 

" Yes, mamma. I am listening." 

Now that it came to the point of speaking, Mrs. 
Randolph found that she had nothing to say. " I 
think it is time you should end this sort of thing," 
she said vaguely. 

" What sort of thing ? " 


" Why, not eating, and making strange remarks 
about other people being better than we are, and 
calling yourself an old maid. You know well 
enough what I mean." 

Kate turned wearily on her side. " What do you 
want me to do? " she asked. 

Her mother's wishes became suddenly and start- 
lingly definite. 

" I want you to marry Lord de Normandy," she 

" I have told you often that I cannot marry." 

Her mother began to cry weakly. "I don't 
know what I have brought you up for," she pro- 
tested, "or how I could have done differently. 
Why should you reproach me for your being un- 
happy ? I always sent you to the best schools, and 
took you where you could meet the best people, 
and never spared money on the best dressmakers." 

" I don't reproach you, mamma," answered Kate 
wearily. " We have n't either of us made much 
of our lives ; but I am more to blame than you, 
for you lack in some essential I don't know what 
it is and I lack in nothing. I have what other 
women have, and it tortures me. Don't answer ! 
Don't argue ! You can't understand. What is 
that ? Some one knocked ! " Kate sat up with 
sudden eagerness, and then with a little cry de- 


scended on some letters that were pushed under the 
door. " Here is one from papa," she said with an 
odd breathlessness. " May I open it ? " 

" Certainly not. My letters are my own. Give 
it to me." 

On the point of her self-importance Mrs. Ran- 
dolph was unvaryingly firm. Kate yielded, and 
stood by the window with locked fingers while Mrs. 
Randolph adjusted her eyeglasses. 

" He tells me he has sent our furs by Celeste," 
she began. " They ought to be here by the twenty- 
third. That will give us time to have them made 
up before we leave Paris. I wonder if he remem- 
bered my sable muff let me see no, he says no- 
thing more about my affairs how like him ! Here 
is something about Dan. He made a big speech. 
What do I care about his speech ? Why, what 
is this ? I wish your father would write more dis- 
tinctly ! Don't stand so near, Kate. You are be- 
tween me and the light. ' Poor Dan has lost his 
his ' it looks like * eyesight,' but he can't mean 

" I will read it." 

Kate took the letter quickly to the window. 

" ' Dan Howard made a splendid speech the other 
night,' " she read in a hard voice. " ' He had an 
electrifying effect on the audience, which makes his 


great misfortune to be regretted on public as well 
as on personal grounds.' " 

" Well, my dear, what is it? what has he lost? 
I hope it is not his fortune, for I have always hoped 
that you might be induced to fancy him." 

Kate gave a short laugh, or was it a sob ? Mrs. 
Randolph did not know. 

" * Poor Dan has lost his eyesight,' " read Kate 
with her back to the room. " ' I have expected it 
for some time ' " 

" How like your father, not to have told me ! " 

" * I have expected it for some time, but hardly 
looked for it so soon. He went blind in the mid- 
dle of his speech, which makes the whole affair 
most extraordinary.' " 

Kate laughed again. " How dramatic ! " she 
said. " It reads like something in a play." 

"Don't be flippant, my dear. Blindness is a 
very serious thing." 

The letter was shaking in Kate's fingers. She 
read on : " ' He is a man of splendid courage, and 
will meet this as he would meet anything else that 
came to him with his face to the front.' " 

" Is there nothing else ? " 

" I don't know. I can't see. I think I must be 
going blind too." 

The letter dropped. 



" I am glad you find something to joke about," 
said Mrs. Randolph gravely. " Poor Dan ! I am 
sorry he has gone blind and thus put an end to 
anything between you two. I had always hoped 
but blindness is even more impossible than loss 
of fortune. Where are you going ? Here is an- 
other letter. It seems to be in Edith Meredith's 
handwriting, and is addressed to you. I did n't 
know they were in Paris. I suppose that disagree- 
able Winifred is here too." 

Kate carried her letter to her own room. 

" I wonder if she knows," she asked herself, tear- 
ing open the note with trembling fingers. 

"I saw your name in the bank register, this 
morning," Edith had written, " and suppose you 
must have just come out. Do drop in and have 
tea with us to-morrow. Win has a good opportu- 
nity to tour in Russia, and we leave this week, 
Heaven knows for how many months or years. Did 
you see Dan before you left Boston ? He was here 
four weeks ago looking dreadfully ill ; since then 
we have heard nothing, and are afraid something 
is wrong." 

Kate flung the note aside. Her slight frame 
quivered convulsively. 

" He came out here to see her for the last time, 
and he never told her he never told," she cried. 


" That was like him. He loved her too well. I 
can tell her now. I can hurt her. Oh, how I 
long to hurt her ! " 

She began to dress herself with blind haste. 

" What will she do ? What will she say ? I can 
see her looking at me with those eyes of hers. 
When I think of him, I feel as if I should go mad. 
She never cared for any one. But why should she ? 
She had him. Perhaps now, when she hears, she 
may give up everything and go to him." Kate 
paused. " If I keep silent now, she may not know 
it for months ; no one writes to her from Boston. 
I can't do it I can't. It is my turn now. I 
have loved him longest, I have loved him best. I 
would have given up everything at any moment for 
him. I did n't need to know he was blind to know 
that I loved him. No, I can't do it. He could n't 
expect it of me after all these years. It is my only 
chance of being happy." Kate was crying with her 
head on the dressing-table. " I should have loved 
him so well. What must he not be living through 
now ! Win could make him almost happy if she 
would. If I could only think of him as happy 
but not with another woman not that ; I could n't 
bear that. Could he ever care for me ? I shall 
never forget the scorn in his eyes that day. If I 
should tell Win now and she should go to him 


and he should be made happy through me 
perhaps he might hate me less." 

Kate pinned on the thickest veil she owned and 
hurried down stairs to order a close carriage. " If 
I tell her, I shall deserve less contempt from him, 
though he will never know he will never know," 
she repeated. " If I tell her, I shall throw away 
my one chance of being happy or good. What is 
he doing? What is he feeling? How he must 
want her ! I know what it is to want a person 
night and day to want, and want, and want till 
you almost go mad. I suppose he feels so, and 
he is blind blind ! I cannot bear it. I cannot 
think of him so. He must be happy, and if Win 
can make him so he must have her. Oh, why was 
I never taught to pray ! I will tell her. Perhaps 
then I can forget the scorn in his eyes. Why was 
I never taught to pray ? " 

The carriage stopped. 

Yes, Mademoiselle was chez elle, but Mademoi- 
selle Edith had gone out. 

For five maddening minutes Kate waited in a 
dark corner of Winifred's studio, and then Wini- 
fred came in to receive her with polite indifference. 
Winifred's cool, steady fingers touched Kate's fever- 
ish ones, and Winifred's poise and self-possession 
contrasted oddly with Kate's nervous tension. 


" I hate her ! I hate her ! I hate her ! " said 
Kate over and over to herself. 

" I heard you were going to Russia, so I came to 
say good-by," she remarked aloud. 

" Yes, we go in a day or so. I don't know when 
we shall come back. Home is as distant as 

Winifred's tone was devoid of either elation or 
doubt. She sat with the full light on her clear, 
colorless skin, unwavering eyes, and firm lips. 

Because she was a woman, Kate longed to break 
the news to her ; because she loved Dan, she feared 
to do so ; and because she hated Winifred, she 
could not part with the superiority her knowledge 
gave her. 

"Have you a satisfactory engagement?" she 
asked, to save time. 

" Financially it is." 

Then a silence fell between them. Kate's lips 
moved to say, " Did you know that Dan was blind?" 
What she actually said was, " I saw him Dan, I 
mean in Boston just before I sailed." Then she 

None but the eyes of a jealous woman could have 
detected the change in Winifred's face ; but it was 
there, and Kate saw it. 

" Edith wrote me you were anxious about him," 


she continued, " and I came round to tell you that 
I had seen him." 

"Ah." Winifred raised her eyebrows. Her 
serene, self-absorbed consciousness was unaccount- 
ably antagonized by Kate's manner. " It was very 
good of you," she said coldly. " But we had news 
of him the other day. I am sorry you took the 
trouble to come. It is most unlikely that you 
could know anything we had not already heard." 

There was another silence, during which Wini- 
fred despised herself for the smallness of her last 
remark, while Kate suffocated with anger and pain. 
She rose suddenly. " I must go. Say good-by 
to Edith for me." 

" She will be sorry to have missed you. " 

Both women faced each other. Certain words 
were crying aloud in Kate's consciousness, but her 
lips were silent. 

Winifred was sorry for her pettishness. " It was 
good of you to come," she said cordially. " If we 
had n't had news last week, we should have been 
eager to hear all you knew. When you go home 
which will be long before we do be sure and tell 
Dan not to overwork himself. I am afraid he has 
done so lately. Good-by." Then Kate hated her 
more than ever. 

" She despises me too much to dislike me," she 


cried, hurrying down stairs. "She fears me so 
little that she sends him messages through me. 
How could I do her a good turn when it meant 
the end of my only chance of happiness ? " Kate 
cried, in short, gasping sobs. " Is he living in 
a worse hell than I ? Poor Dan ! Oh, my poor 
Dan ! I love him, and I have done him wrong ! 
Just as if it mattered about her or me about any- 
thing but his happiness." 

Madame, who sat in the conciergerie, was startled 
by the sudden appearance of a beautifully dressed 
girl with a haggard face. 

" Give me paper and pencil, quick anything 
will do," said this lady; and Kate wrote: "I 
thought you might care to know that Dan went 
blind two weeks ago." 

" Take that to Mademoiselle Meredith at once. 
Do you understand ? " she said. 

" Oui, Madame. I go at once a V instant" 

" But you are not going." 

" I show Madame the door first ; permettez-moi. 
This is Madame'sj/ftzcre? " 

" Don't fail to let her have it," said Kate with 
feverish eagerness, as she pulled up the cab window. 

" Madame may rely upon me. I go to stop le 
petit Jean from playing with the fire, and within 
four minutes Mademoiselle Meredith has the note." 


It happened that le petit Jean had put the note 
in the fire. Madame boxed his ears soundly. 

" Mon dieu quel enfant 1 " she sighed, return- 
ing to her knitting. " But it can be of no great im- 
portance. If it had been from a man " Madame 
shrugged her shoulders significantly. 

A few days later Kate returned, to find that 
Winifred had gone to Russia. 

She breathed quickly. " What did she do when 
you gave her my note ? " 

" Just this * Merci.' " Madame gave an ad- 
mirable imitation of Winifred's careless manner. 

" And afterwards you say she went to Rus- 
sia, not to America? " 

"It was Russia, I know, for she left her ad- 

Kate went out with a new look in her eyes. " It 
is my turn now," she said. " I sacrificed myself 
to save him ; she took the best of his life, and left 
him in his hour of need. I can look her in the face 
now, for I am as worthy of him as she." 

Winifred sat alone after Kate's visit, wondering 
why it had disturbed her so. She was troubled 
about Dan. Walter Garrison had written that he 
was well, and at work ; but why had not Dan writ- 
ten himself? 



Von Eeidnitz came that afternoon to coach her 
for a new opera, and Winifred disliked him more 
than ever. 

" You go to Russia ? " he asked. 

" Yes, this week." 

" I have been away a month, and come back to 
this news. You never told me." 

" Why should 1 have told you ? " 

There was an unpleasant look in the Austrian's 
eyes. Here was an unmarried woman, who saw 
him alone daily, and whose fingers he dared not 
kiss. Such women as these, women who met his 
eyes without thought of evil, and spoke to him 
without restraint, were beyond the bounds of his 
very questionable experience. Winifred was fear- 
less ; her careless power and splendid vitality at- 
tracted him, while her indifference and apparent 
coldness left him baffled and amazed. 

Something of all this Winifred might have read 
in his eyes, had she cared to look ; but though his 
personality sometimes disturbed her, she was more 
often unconscious of anything but his artistic pos- 

She moved to the piano now. " We will go 
through the first act," she said. 

" I did not come here for music." 

"What then?" 



"Winifred's eyes silenced him. When he spoke 
again it was on a different subject. 

" Mademoiselle," he began, " the last time I came 
here, I was insulted by one of your friends." 

" How strange ! Who was it ? " 

" Your American. I know not his name." 

Winifred tried not to smile. " Oh, why did n't 
I hear it ! " she thought. " What did he say to 
you ? " she asked aloud. 

" Let it suffice to know that he insulted me for 
the second time. I regret to tell you that he is a 

" A coward ! " Winifred laughed. 

" You laugh ; you think it a small thing to be 
a coward." 

She had never angered him more than at this 

" I offered him honorable redress," he continued. 

" You challenged him how absurd ! " She 
laughed again. " It is like something on the stage. 
What did he do ? " 

" He refused." 

" Of course. I suppose he laughed at you ? " 

" Americans laugh in strange places. I am, un- 
fortunately, unable to share your merriment. He 
is a coward." 

This time Winifred flushed. " Coward is not a 


nice word," she said slowly, " and I think you have 
said it too often, Herr von Reidnitz. From this 
day you will consider these lessons at an end." 

Herr von Reidnitz rose and bowed. " I hope 
the Fraulein will some day see fit to pardon." 

" I do not pardon easily." Winifred spoke 
haughtily. She was unaccountably indignant, and 
felt that such musical criticism as he could give her 
would be too dearly bought. 

Von Reidnitz hurried down stairs. " Ach, these 
Americans ! " he muttered. " The women you 
think are free till you find they are only fearless ! 
The men who laugh at the word a Frenchman 
would shoot you for ! This girl is splendid, dar- 
ing, charming, amazing, all at once. I was a fool 
to offend her for some day it would have been 
worth while to make her afraid." 

It was among such men as these that Winifred 
passed with her serene pride untouched. Von 
Reidnitz had not reached the street before she 
had forgotten him, and his kind ; but she sat long 
by the empty grate, thinking ; and once she spoke 
to herself aloud. 

" It is unkind of him not to write," she said. 

Chapter XII 


IT was a year later, and Winifred was coming 

" The captain says we shall be over the bar by 
ten o'clock to-morrow," announced Edith. 

She was arranging her hair before an infinitesi- 
mal mirror, and Winifred sat on the sofa looking 
out of the port-hole. The year had changed her, 
taken something from her radiant confidence, 
drawn a tiny line between her brows, and brought 
a curious compression to the corners of her lips. 
Disappointment had not discouraged, but neither 
had it softened her. Her moments of silence were 
longer, her moments of expansion rarer, than when 
she went to Kussia. She did not answer Edith's 
remark ; but as Edith had said, " One would talk 
so very little if one talked only when sure of being 
answered by Win." 

" I suppose we shall be in New York by mid- 
day," Edith continued. " When we left home five 
years ago we could not have afforded a stateroom 


like this. You must at least be pleased by the 
money you have been able to make." 

" Yes," said Winifred. " It helps while waiting 
for the real thing." 

" Perhaps the ' real thing ' will come this win- 

" If I have a chance to sing." 

" The impresario promised it to you." 

" What is an impresario's promise ? " 

"Not golden, certainly." Edith had finished, 
and sat watching Winifred's profile in the light 
that streamed through the port-hole. 


" Yes." 

" When you have the real thing, what then ? " 

" I shall enjoy it." 

" Will you ? Sometimes I think you will not 
for long." 

" What do you suppose I am doing it for ? " 

" For the sake of doing it. Have you ever no- 
ticed that admiration is the thing you tire of most 
easily ? " 

" It is n't for admiration, it 's for power." 

If Edith had no intellect, she possessed its best 
substitute practical intuition. 

" What do you mean, exactly, by power ? " she 



Winifred evaded the question. "It is better 
than anything else life can give me," she said. 

"It would be the least life could give me 
power of that kind, I mean." 

Edith still looked at the dark, irregular profile ; 
a shadow she was learning to recognize brooded in 
Winifred's eyes. 

"I wonder if you would confess something to 
me, now that we are talking frankly ? " began 

" I don't know." 

" Have n't you been disappointed in Dan ? " 

" No." The answer came quickly, and then the 
shadow deepened in Winifred's eyes. 

" He has never answered your letters, nor sent 
an explanation." 

"Dan would never need to explain to me." 

" How do you explain ? " 

" I don't explain, only I know that whatever 
Dan does is well done." 

" It is not like you to believe in people so." 

" Other ' people ' are not Dan." 

" Do you expect to see him, now that we are at 
home again ? " 

" It will be as he chooses." 

Edith puckered her brows. " I did n't think 
Dan would give up like that," she complained. 


" It destroys all one's ideas of fidelity. I don't 
know whom to believe in now." 

" I believe in him as I always have, as I always 
shall. If he decided we had better be separated, 
he decided it as much for me as for himself. I 
wouldn't need letters to tell me that: he knows 
that I know." 

Winifred rose. She had spoken with a ring of 
proud confidence in her voice. 

" Where are you going? " asked Edith. 

" Out," said Winifred. 

As she passed along the deck, some men who 
stood in the smoking-room door commented upon 

" Can you imagine those lips tremulous ? " said 
one of them. " The mouth shows what you are, 
the eyes what you might have been. Have you 
ever noticed her eyes ? " 

" Yes, they are mysterious at times. Then again 
they have the frank, unspoiled gaze of a child. I 
wonder how long they will keep it." 

" What does a woman with those eyes want of 
artificial lights, empty praises, and the drudgery of 
stage life? " said the first speaker impatiently. 

An old man who smoked a little apart looked up 
suddenly. " I understand she has not made any 
striking success," he said. 


**I believe not. That makes it all the more 

" Does it ? " said the old gentleman with a quiet 

There was a little pause and then a comprehen- 
sive look. 

" I think Mr. Rivers has hit the right nail," 
said one of the men. " You 're old-fashioned, 
Meriman. You can't stop the modern woman from 

" She would accomplish so much more if she 
would satisfy herself with being," growled Meri- 
man. " Take the sister." 

" The sister 's a dear little girl, no one denies 
that ; but who can think of her when the other one 
is about ? " 

Winifred, unconscious of and indifferent to in- 
terested eyes, had flung herself down on a coil of 
rope in the bow of the steamer. The wild, salt 
wind blew cold in her face, and the waste of flowing 
waters suggested infinite things. 

" Dan would have liked this." She sat long, 
and her eyes deepened and darkened. One of 
those moments when no self-deceit is possible had 
come to her. In this lonely sublimity of sky and 
sea she could not seem other than she was. She 
knew that she should always hold out empty hands 


to life, though the flattery, the wealth, the power of 
the world were hers. She knew that she should be 
alone, though she lived and talked with men and 
women. Other women were happy, in friends, or 
lovers, or work, and Dan had spoken to her of what 
could make her happy, but she had never been able 
to love Dan as other women would have done. She 
had not loved him ; but had always known that 
there could never be other man, other friend, other 
lover in her life than he. Some day she wanted 
him to know this, because in after years, when he 
ceased to love her, he might blame her for taking 
so much and giving so little ; and this had been 
her only excuse, this knowledge of hers that if it 
could not be he it would be no one. Now he had 
gone out of her life, and none could take his place. 
It was best so ; he would be happier in the end. 
For herself there would never be anything but her 
career, even though it left her with empty hands 
at the last. 

But this was not what she had expected of life. 
It had looked so simple and joyous, on that June 
day five years ago when Dan had found her sing- 
ing in the poppy garden. And now she asked 
herself with startled wonder if she were not going 
to be an unhappy woman; but that was absurd, 
when one had youth, and health, and talent such 


as hers. No, unhappiness was not the word ; not 
for an instant would she acknowledge unhappiness 
only nothing was very much worth while, and 
she was lonely, and she must be lonely all her life. 

This was not her first moment of awakening, and 
she met it as she had met others. She rose and 
smiled a challenging smile straight into the heart 
of the setting sun. Life should give her what she 
chose, what would make it abundantly worth living. 
It was weak to consider unhappiness because the 
day was dying; it was morbid to fear loneliness 
because she was alone with the sky and sea. 

She turned from the solitude to lighted cabins 
and the sound of chattering voices. Edith had 
been hunting for her. 

" Have you forgotten the concert to-night ? " she 
asked. " You promised to rehearse, and then you 

" I was in the bow ; any one might have found 

" Who would have thought of finding you in 
that windy spot ! It was very imprudent of you." 

"Winifred clasped her hands behind her head, 
and laughed a low, defiant laugh. 

" I do not care," she said. " Sometimes I dare 
not to care, and it is so nice." 

" Which daring, or not caring ? " 



" How queer you are, Win ! You are perfectly 
capable of spoiling the climax of your career by 
one of these crazy moods." 

" I know it, but I am not going to spoil to-night. 
I am going to sing well. Wait." 

A reaction had set in. Winifred's mood was 
reckless, confident, brilliant. She talked gayly as 
she dressed for the concert. 

" After all," she said, " though a great operatic 
success must be a great thing, it might be just as 
good to be a red cross nurse on a post of danger in 
war time." 

Edith sat on her berth and shivered. " I should n't 
mind being a nurse, but I should hate a post of 
danger," she said. 

" The danger is what I should like, danger and 
a laugh in the teeth of it. It must be glorious. 
Only," she added reflectively " only I probably 
should n't laugh, I should run away." 

Edith sighed. 

" Win, dear, sometimes I fear you are not at all 
the person for an opera singer." 

Winifred laughed. " Wait till you hear me to- 
night," she said. 

" Nobody will hear you if you keep on talking so 
much. There won't be a note left in your voice." 


" Wait," she said, laughing again, and stood be- 
fore the mirror with careless amusement. " I am 
glad I have n't beauty," she continued. " It is so 
much more triumphant to be able to do without it. 
I am going to take the geranium the captain gave 
you to-day, Edith. A red geranium is the only 
flower I don't like, it is so aggressive and blatant ; 
but to-night I want it. I shall wear it in my hair 
-like this." 

The effect was daring, and seemed part of what 
Edith called " one of Win's invincible moods." 

In the saloon, Winifred, with her black hair aud 
dress and her scarlet flower, created a sensation of 
which she was serenely conscious. 

" What is she, an American, or a duchess, or 
both?" asked a passenger who appeared for the 
first time. 

" An American, and an opera singer." 

" Good heavens an opera singer, you say ? " 
A pair of lorgnettes went up. " But she is a lady." 


" Then how can she " 

" She is so far above the dirt of the stage that 
she does n't see it." 

" Ah. How long do you suppose that will last ? " 

" I don't know. She looks rather incorruptible, 
don't you think so ? " 



Winifred sat down near the door in a seat that 
old Mr. Rivers had found for her. 

" You look well, my child," he said. 

" Why do you call me a child? " asked Winifred. 
'* Do you know that I am twenty-six ? " 

" That is young enough to be a child to me." 

She smiled. " I am glad the parentage exists 
only in years. You would n't have let me go on 
the stage." 

" You are right ; I should not." 

" You could n't have helped it," she said with 
mischievous defiance. 

" Possibly not." 

Edith came to say that the concert was about to 
begin ; but Winifred announced her intention of 
staying where she was for the present. 

" They make such dreadful music," she explained. 
" Are you going ? " she asked of Mr. Rivers. 

" No, I am not fond of music as a rule. I shall 
go to hear you sing, however." 

She rested her elbows on the table, and with 
chin in hands looked at him for a short time in 

"I think you will be disappointed," she said 

" That depends upon what I expect." 

" Don't you expect me to sing well ? " She 


looked surprised. " People always expect more of 
me than they find." 

" That is on account of your confident air, Win," 
said Edith, who had also seated herself. 

" Don't you expect me to sing well ? " persisted 
Winifred ingenuously. 

Well yes ; not greatly." 

"Why not?" 

" You are still a child." 

"That is the old story," she said impatiently. 
" Besides, it is n't altogether true." She thought 
of that sunset hour when she had been alone with 
the sky and sea. Looking out of the open door, 
she could see the deck slope into the night, and a 
solemn path of moonlight on the water. 

" There are far better things for you than oper- 
atic success," said the old man. He spoke in 
undertones, for the concert had begun. "You 
worship power without understanding the deepest 
meaning of the word." He drummed on the table 
with his fingers and looked at her reflectively. " I 
should like you to know a particular friend of 
mine," he said. 

" Why ? What has he done ? " 

" Is n't it quite as important to ask what he is ? " 

" Well, what is he, then ? " She smiled. 

" Several things. Incidentally he is blind." 


" Ah, how can blindness be an incident ? " 

" He makes it one. I think you would like 

" Would he like me ? " she asked, smiling. 

" I do not know," he answered, smiling also. 
Then he continued seriously : 

" He went blind in the middle of his own speech." 

" You don't mean he finished it ? " 

" He finished it." 

Winifred drew a deep breath. 

" How could he do it ? How could he ? " cried 

" It would make life worth living just to have 
done a thing like that," said Winifred in a low 

" Which remark proves what I say about your 
inexperience," Mr. Rivers answered. "You are 
struck by the act, not by the pain." 

" What has he done since then ? " 

" He has made himself one of the most promi- 
nent lawyers in the state. Just before I left Eu- 
rope I heard of his having won the biggest law 
case that has appeared in the courts for some years." 

" I wonder if I could ever meet him," Winifred 
said slowly. 

" How terrible it must be to be blind ! I can't 
bear to think of it," whispered Edith. 


" Why do you think of it, then ? " Winifred 
gave herself a mental shake. " Why do you think 
of it ? There are so many pleasant things in the 
world. My sister is so foolish," she explained with 
a smile. " She is a great deal softer hearted than 
I am, yet she continually dwells on unfortunates. 
If I felt as badly as she does, I would never look 
at one or speak of one, unless, of course, I could 
do some good, and then I suppose I should feel 
obliged As it is, unhappy people do not want 
me any more than I want them." She spoke 
lightly, with graceful defiance. 

" That is why you don't sing better," said Mr. 
Rivers gravely. 

But Winifred would not be grave. A mischiev- 
ous devil laughed in her eyes. She drew a pro- 
gramme towards her and wrote rapidly on the 

" What are you doing ? " inquired Edith curi- 

" Beginning a new musical education. It seems 
necessary that I should enlarge my bump of com- 
passion. How is this ? " She read from her pro- 
gramme. " ' Wanted. A lady desires to adopt 
poor boy or girl, cripple preferred.' I shall put it 
in the New York Herald the moment we land." 
Then she laughed and tore the paper in two. " No, 


I don't like unfortunates. I leave them to Edith. 
Happiness and success are my chosen friends." 

" How Dan would have hated to hear you talk 
so," said Edith reproachfully. 

" I wonder if Mr. Rivers could tell us anything 
of him," said Winifred, laughing no longer. 

"Who? Dan?" 

" Yes." She looked up. " You are a lawyer 
and come from Massachusetts ; do you know an old 
friend " 

A strange voice interrupted her. 

" Miss Meredith, it is your turn to sing." 

She consulted the programme. " There is one 
more number first. I will go after that. I want 
to ask a question." 

" Very well, don't ask it too loud. Mrs. Bart- 
lett's voice is easily extinguished." 

She continued in a low tone. 

" Do you know a Mr. Howard, a lawyer of the 
Massachusetts bar? " 

" Why, that is the name of the man I was telling 
you of ; could n't it be " 

" Of course not. Dan blind ! What an idea. 
Don't you know more than one Howard ? " 

"I know only one of the Massachusetts bar. 
How long is it since you have seen your friend ? 
Are you sure " 



" Of course I am. How persistent you lawyers 
are. Why, Dan is n't any more blind than you are ! 
Perhaps you will recognize his full name. Daniel 
Maitland Howard. Your friend is probably some 
Jim Howard, or Jack Howard." 

Mr. Rivers looked at her doubtfully. 

" He is Daniel Maitland Howard," was the 

Edith gave a little cry. 

Winifred was leaning forward on the table. She 
did not stir or speak, but the color went drop by 
drop from her face till Mr. Rivers was frightened. 

" Miss Meredith, it is your turn to sing." 

She rose mechanically. 

Edith was crying. 

" Be quiet ! " commanded Winifred fiercely. 
It is n't Dan it can't be Dan." 

Two of the men who had discussed Winifred in 
the afternoon watched her entrance now. 

" Look at Miss Meredith," said Meriman quickly. 
" Good heavens ! what 's wrong? Is it the electric 
light, or the scarlet flower ? " 

" By Jove! " exclaimed the other, putting on his 
glasses, " what a change ! It 's neither light nor 
flower. Look at her lips. I '11 wager she does n't 

Winifred faced a hundred eyes. The pallor of 


her face was startling beside the black dress and 
the cruel red of a scarlet geranium. 

" Is she going to faint? Is she stage-struck?" 
whispered some one. 

" Stage-struck that woman ? Nonsense I I 
did n't know she was so tall, did you ? " 

Edith played the opening bars of the accompa- 
niment, but Winifred made no sound. She played 
them again, and Winifred caught her throat. 

" I can't," she whispered. " I can't breathe. 
It may be Dan." 


Chapter XIII 


ME. EIVEES awaited Winifred's return. He 
had known she would not sing. 

" I wonder if Dan Howard knows or cares," 
he asked himself. 

Very soon Winifred stood before him with 
fiercely questioning eyes. 

" I must know if it is Dan," she said. 

" We will telegraph Mr. Garrison to-morrow." 
Edith spoke soothingly. 

" I must know to-night." 

Mr. Eivers placed a chair for her, and addressed 
himself to Edith. " Walter Garrison is Howard's 
most intimate friend," he said. " They lived to- 
gether for years on Beacon Hill." 

" Then it is our Dan." Edith gave a little sob. 
" Poor Dan, how dreadful ! " Winifred said no- 
thing. She was strangely still and white and 

Looking at her, Mr. Eivers asked himself what 
part this woman played in Daniel Howard's life. 


" I did not know he was such an old friend of 
yours, or I should have broken the news less bru- 
tally." He continued to address Edith. "Mr. 
Howard lost his eyesight about two years ago, but 
since then he has won more admiration than pity. 
I don't think his friends should grieve for him over- 

" He might have told us," said Edith. And 
then some men came up to ask if Winifred was 
feeling better, and if there was nothing to be done 
for her. 

Winifred was not feeling better, and there was 
nothing to be done. 

" It is only a little faintness," Edith assured 
them. She longed to go away and cry ; but it 
wouldn't be fair to leave Winifred looking like 
this. She had never looked so before, and Edith 
was startled. Why did n't Win speak, or move, 
or cry ? This stillness of hers made every one un- 

The men lingered. " I heard you speaking of 
Dan Howard just now," said one of them. " Did 
you know he had won his great case ? " 

Mr. Rivers nodded assent. 

" I had a letter from an eye-witness just before 
I sailed," continued the speaker. " It must have 
been worth seeing and hearing. They say there 


was n't a dry eye in the court. Howard has an odd 
power of moving people when he chooses. I sup- 
pose his personal experience helps somewhat. You 
always feel the man must have suffered hideously." 

Mr. Rivers rose and turned out the light that 
shone on Winifred's face. 

" I wonder if you 're speaking of the Dan How- 
ard I knew in college," said another man. " He 
was in my class of '84." 

" I think that 's the one a tall, loosely hung 
fellow with a face you might n't like, but could n't 

" Yes and over fond of his own way. It must 
be the same. And he 's gone blind ? That boy ! 
He used to play half-back on the 'Varsity eleven. 
He was the roughest player on the team, and now 
he's blind. Good heavens! Poor old Howard! 
What does it make of him ? " 

" He is one of the men who are always bigger 
than the occasion." 

" He used to be when he played football, but 
what can a man do when he can't see to keep out 
of the gutter?" 

" Wait till you meet him. It is rather odd, the 
impression he gives of being a larger force than 
you, even while you lend him the guidance of your 



" I wonder why he did n't shoot himself before 
it came to that," said Dan's old classmate reflec- 
tively, as he passed out to the moonlit deck. 

"When you see him, perhaps you will under- 

" I don't know. I suppose he is changed." 

" I doubt if you would know him." 

The voices were lost in the distance. 

" Come to bed, Win," said Edith. 

Mr. Rivers put his hand over hers. " My child." 
He spoke with grave tenderness. 

Winifred shivered, and rising, she went out 
alone into the night. 

The next day she stood opposite Walter Gar- 
rison in the private parlor of a Fifth Avenue 

" I do not understand," she was saying slowly. 
"You were his friend, and you left him." 

She spoke with pale lips, and her face was with- 
out color or life. 

" If you will let me I should like to explain," 
said Walter. 

" It can hardly be worth while," she answered 

" Pardon me, Miss Meredith, it is worth while." 

Walter was not angry; he knew too well the 


loyalty of his own heart and actions, but he had 
certain things to say and he meant to say them. 

She listened to him on sufferance, with a 
strangely still face and inscrutable eyes. 

" Dan got me the position himself," continued 
Walter in his slow, gentle way, " because he knew 
it would help me to earn a living, and give me a 
chance of winning the woman I love. I would 
have given up that chance for Dan, but I could 
not force the sacrifice upon him. To accept from 
others seemed the one intolerable thing " Here 
Walter broke off suddenly. " You know Dan," 
he added in a lower tone. " It was for his own 
sake that I left him." 

An almost imperceptible tremor passed over the 
stillness of her face, and he saw that she under- 

" Where is he ? " she asked. 

Walter became suddenly ill at ease. "He is 
taking a vacation at Lilton," he said. 

" At Lilton? " It was the home of Winifred's 

" I think he is staying with your aunt," he 

Winifred was silent for a moment ; then 

" Telegraph her that I shall be at Lilton to-mor- 
row," she said. 



Edith entered the room in time to hear the last 

" Why, Win, you are crazy," she exclaimed. 
" You can't leave New York now ; there are con- 
tracts to sign, and fifty things to be done about 
your debut." 

Walter had taken out his note-book. " What 
train shall I tell her to meet ? " he asked quietly. 
He was smiling under his beard. 

"Why do you want to go to Lilton, of all 
places ? " said Edith. 

" Dan is there," answered Winifred. 

Chapter XIY 


DAN was blind, and though Winifred stood be- 
fore his face for a thousand years, he would 
never look into her eyes again. The journey was 
an agony of weariness and impatience Dan was 

At last she stood on the platform of the little 
country station ; but there was no one to meet her. 
The station-master regarded her with suspicion as 
he locked the ticket office, and when she asked for 
a carriage to drive to Mrs. Sumner's place, suspi- 
cion changed to contempt. 

" I guess you be a stranger in these parts," he 
said. "Mrs. Sumner's place went in the crash 
when old Meredith died ; she has been living on 
Mr. Howard's estate ever since." 

" Mr. Howard's estate ! " repeated Winifred. 

" Why, yes ; Mr. Howard bought the Meredith 

estate soon after the old man died, five years ago. 

If you be going that way, you might as well take 

along this telegram which came for Mrs. Sumner 



yesterday noon." He thrust a bit of yellow paper 
into her hand ; it was her own telegram. She 
looked at it dully. So after all she was not ex- 
pected, and it was Dan who had bought her place ; 
it was owing to him that she had been cleared of 
debt, owing to him that she had been able to go 
abroad and gratify her heart's desire. 

" Be you feeling bad ? " asked the man, struck 
by her pallor, and partially mollified by the impor- 
tance of giving information. " If you don't feel 
like walking, I can hitch up and take you over to 
Mr. Howard's place 's well 's not." 

" I will walk," she told him. 

The way was the old familiar one of her child- 
hood ; but memory was blotted out by the thought 
that she was near Dan again. Only once she 
stopped to lean against a huge oak, for it was here 
that he had first told her of his love. She remem- 
bered well a sense of rebellion at his calm assump- 
tion of mastery. " What makes you so sure of 
winning me?" she had asked him. "The strength 
of my need of you," he had answered. In those 
days she had wondered that any one person should 
need another. 

She was then a girl of fifteen, ambitious, happy, 
and confident. She stood to-day a woman in the 
prime of her youth, in the pride of her success, but 


her lips were pale with the strangeness and bitter- 
ness of pain. Of what she would say to Dan and 
of why she went to him, she did not pause to think. 
He was in trouble, and she must be with him ; that 
was all. 

With dim eyes she walked up the well-remem- 
bered avenue, and stood by the gate where Dan had 
leaned one springtime many years ago, watching 
her as she sang. 

A sunbonnet bobbed among the withered flowers 
now, and under it the pale, worn little face of her 
aunt looked up with a cry of surprise. 

"Winnie, my dear, is it you? I thought you 
were thousands of miles away. I was asking Dan 
only the other day whether " 

"Dan is still here?" 

" Oh, yes, poor fellow. You must n't be shocked 
to find him changed." 

Winifred had a sense of suffocation. 

" Where is he ? " she asked. 

" Don't see him yet, dearie. You look ill. Per- 
haps the sun was too " 

" Where is Dan ? " 

" I think he is on the back piazza, but " 

Winifred swept by her aunt without a word. 
Swiftly she passed up the steps, through the long 


hall, and to the veranda beyond, where Dan sat 
alone. Swiftly she went to him with a low cry. 

"Dan! Dan!" 

He rose to his feet. " Winifred ! " was all he 
said, and he put out his hand to her. 

" Oh, Dan, what can I say to you ? What can 
I say?" 

He could not speak, for the sudden touch and 
sound of her was more than he could bear. 

She saw that the face above hers was lined and 
seamed ; her breath came broken with sobs. 

" You never told me you never told, you let 
me find it out from a stranger. When I heard 
I thought my heart would break." She quivered, 
and clung to the hands that held hers. 

" Dan, Dan," she cried again, and then because 
of her weakness he found his strength. 

He put her gently but firmly from him. 

"You mustn't mind so much, Win," he said. 
" You '11 get used to it after a little, though it 's 
puzzling at first, I admit. Won't you sit down ? 
There must be a chair round here somewhere. 
Why did n't you let me know you were coming ? 
You startled me." 

For his sake she tried to steady her voice ; but 
it was hard to breathe while standing before Dan's 


sightless eyes, and an attempt to tell him of the 
telegram ended in terrible, convulsive sobbing. 

" I cannot bear it I cannot. Dan, you are 
strong tell me how to bear it ; I cannot bear it 

The utter abandonment of her grief, the strength 
and violence of it startled him, and passion was 
forgotten in tenderness. He made his way to 

" Dear child, I cannot have you so troubled about 
me," he said. 

She clung to his hand. " There must be some 
hope," she cried. " There must be some help in 
the world somewhere ; did you try to find it ? 
Dan, it is breaking my heart; tell me there is 

" Would it have been like me to give in without 
a struggle ? " he said quietly. 

Her wild passion of weeping frightened him. 
He bent over her, and putting his hand on her 
bowed head, spoke with grave command. 

" Win," he called, " Win." She seemed com- 
forted by the touch of his hand on her hair. 

" Win, you must stop," he said in his deep voice. 

Then as her sobbing grew quieter he went on, " I 

cannot tell you what your sympathy is to me; I 

will not try. You have given proof of your deep, 



tender heart, and I hope the time is not far off 
when you will know the happiness of finding some 
one worthy of the great love it is in you to give." 

She stopped crying suddenly, and having done 
his duty, Dan, with a white, drawn face, groped his 
way back to his chair. 

She put out her hand and touched his arm. 
" Did you know, that time in Paris ? " she asked. 

"Know what? Oh, that I was going to be 
blind? Yes, I knew then." 

" And you never told me ! Why not, Dan ? " 

He hesitated. " There were many reasons." 

" Could any of them have made it kind to have 
kept it from me ? Did all our years together go 
for nothing?" 

" That was just it, Win ; they went for nothing. 
We had come to the parting of the roads." 

" And did you think we could part with the 

Dan straightened himself. "The poor child 
feels she owes me something," he thought. 

Then with a shudder of indignation he asked 
himself if she could be thinking of making the 
great sacrifice ; if she could think he would use 
her beautiful life to keep him from tripping in the 

He had never seen tears in her eyes, and now 


her voice had come to him broken with sobs ; he 
had felt her tears on his hand, and her fingers had 
clung to his in weakness and appeal. Her grief 
was for him, her pity, her new tenderness for him, 
and his temptation was almost more than he could 

A certain affection she had always given him, 
and her love he knew he could win even now ; 
for the pendulum of his inner life swung as 
strongly and boldly as ever. What she felt to-day 
was only pity; but in after years he set his 
teeth it was too late ! 

There was silence between them, and in the 
autumn fields. Once a crow called from a hay 
rick, and some withered leaves dropped from the 

Winifred looked into Dan's face ; she could only 
guess at the bitterness of an infirmity that had 
been worn before thousands of eyes, at the agony 
of a humiliation regarding which austere lips were 
proudly silent. In the rugged lines of that face 
she read no resignation ; but something of proud 
patience. The brows were graver, the mouth un- 
conquerable as ever. 

In the silence, Winifred looked, understood, and 
stepped royally and gladly into her own. " I love 
him," she said in her soul, and was dumb with 


the wonder and joy of it. * 4 1 love him," and she 
wanted to cry it aloud, she wanted the stars to 
hear. She rose and stood by him, and it seemed 
to her that he must know. 

"Dan, do you remember our grainfield with the 
wind and sun on it ? " she asked softly. 

Yes, Dan remembered. Why must she remind 
him of that ? in those days there had been light 
O God ! there had been light. He had heard her 
move towards him, and her nearness in the dark 
was a torture. 

" It would have been better to have told me," 
she was saying. 

" To have told " 

" What was coming to you." 

" It was best for me to pass from your life, as 
you must pass from mine." 

In his pain he spoke harshly. He felt that this 
interview must end, or he could not answer for his 

Winifred was speaking again, and there was a 
bewildering sweetness in her voice. " Won't you 
come out into the woods with me ? " she said. 
" There is a stillness, and a glory, and a wonder in 
them, that is more to be felt than seen, and autumn 
leaves are dropping through the silence, and the 
nuthatches are calling. Don't you remember how 


we used to hear them when we were boy and girl 
together ? " 

At any price let Winifred think what she 
would this must end. Dan's face grew resolute, 
and his moment of weakness was past. 

" I don't think you understand me, Winifred," 
he began almost sternly. " The past is gone, trod- 
den down and sealed. You are to think of me as 
if I had never been." 

Winifred drew back from him, startled. Dan 
had never spoken to her with this voice. 

" Shall I put it plainer ; or do you understand ?" 

" I don't think I do, Dan quite." 

He had said he hoped she would love some other 
man. It was for his honor's sake to renounce all 
claims ; but now he was speaking as if he did not 
love her. His voice was deep, quiet, resolute. 

" Most of my early life was passed trying to 
make you love me." 

" Yes, Dan." 

" The great thing I feel gratitude for to-day is 
that you never loved me." 

"Yes, Dan," and now her answer was little 
more than a whisper. She put out her hand as if 
to ward off a blow. 

" One word more. The part of that past that 
related to my love for you has no longer a mean- 


ing. I have ceased to expect, ceased to wish any 
woman to love me, or to be my wife. You ae 
quite sure you understand me, Winifred ? " 

She was looking at him with wide, terrified eyes, 
and parted lips. She was numb, and dumb, and 
breathless, a dethroned queen, an agonized 
woman. It was all over, then ; she had learned her 
love too late, and must pay the price. 

" You are sure you understand me ? " Dan said 

He must never know Winifred found her 
voice, and answered him quietly through white 

I think I understand it all*" she said. " Good- 
by, Dan." 

He paused a moment before speaking, then 
" Your aunt will be alone here after to-morrow," 
he told her. " It would be a pleasure to me if you 
could still feel that this was your home. I only 
bought it to hold for you." 

" That was like you, Dan ; but I think I had 
better go." She paused and looked at him in 
his face she could see no sign of weakness, nor 
doubt, nor need of her love. Suddenly she turned, 
aiid passed through the garden, and down the well- 
remembered avenue to the high road beyond. Not 
once did she look back. 



Dan sat on, motionless, in the sunny silence 
where she had left him. The world was very still. 
Now and then crows cawed from the meadow as 
they had done in the moment of his temptation, and 
once he felt a withered leaf drop on his hand. For 
a long time he sat there, then his lips moved and 
two tears the terrible tears of a strong man 
came slowly into his eyes. 

Chapter XV 


doubt Dan's love was like doubting the 
existence of suns and moons, and Winifred 
doubted this love in the very hour of pain and 
glory when she recognized her own. 

Suffering was startling, bewildering, hideous, 
and she struggled with it as a new-born child fights 
with air. This was on the long journey home, 
when she sat in silence through hours of darkness, 
and saw the stars fade and the waning moon 
climb a sky that was gray with dawn. Then Wini- 
fred prayed. 

There had been a time when Dan and she had 
stood under a waning moon, when he had looked 
into her eyes and spoken his love ; but that was 
an aeon ago. He could never look into her eyes 
again, or see the light of moon or sun. There had 
come to him what was worse than any death, and 
there had come to her 

When the day was bright, those who traveled 
with her saw a still, white-faced woman, beside 


whom it seemed best not to sit. Within herself 
Winifred was wondering how it was that, suffer- 
ing so, she lived. 

Edith met her at the door of her own room, and 
a pair of questioning eyes had to be parried. She 
turned a cold cheek to her sister's lips. 

"You saw him, Win?" 


"How how is he?" 

" He is blind." 

Winifred shivered as she put Edith from her. 
Then she caught sight of her own face in the 
mirror, and paused ; for it was not so that she had 
looked yesterday, or on any other day of her life, 
and Edith must not know. 

She sat with her back to the light, and removed 
her veil deliberately. Edith was nervous and re- 
strained. She played with her handkerchief, and 
started several times, without success, to speak. 

" Is it true about Kate ? " she ventured at 

" About Kate ? " repeated Winifred. After all 
it might be well to talk of Kate, of everything 
in the world, save that which was more than this 
world or the next. 

" What is it about Kate ? " she asked. 

Edith seemed puzzled, and a little tremulous. 


Her eyes questioned Winifred, but Winifred's fin- 
gers were composedly busy with her hair. 

" What about Kate ? " she repeated. 

"Nothing I suppose, or he would have told 

" Who ? " 


The busy fingers paused ; but only for an in- 
stant, for Winifred saw the danger signal, and the 
instinct of self-preservation was strong within her. 
She was dreaming or insane ; but in her eyes, 
looking at her from the glass, there was that which 
no one must know. 

" What should he have told me of Kate ? " she 

" Only whether he I mean if it is true what 
people say." 

" What do people say ? " 

Edith had suspected herself to be treading on a 
charged mine ; but if Win could speak in such a 
tone, it was all right. 

" Of course it 's only gossip, or he would have 
told you," she continued more easily. " Only they 
say Kate is no longer the same person ; she has 
given up society, and she and Dan " 

" She and Dan ? " questioned Winifred quietly 
Assuredly she was dreaming. 


" She and Dan are together a good deal ; that is, 
they go to concerts, and he sees nothing of any one 
else, so of course people talk." 

" I see ; they say Dan is going to marry her." 

Winifred leaned her chin on her hand ; she felt 
an hysterical desire to laugh. So it was Kate 
Kate Randolph whom Dan had despised, and 
she had laughed at. 

"I think Kate has loved Dan all her life," 
Edith was saying. 

Yes ; Winifred saw it all now, a thousand long- 
forgotten words and looks flashed through her con- 
sciousness. Kate had loved him all her life, but 
she too had loved him, and on looking back, she 
could remember no time when she had not loved 
him, only she had never known her heart till it 
had been half broken. Kate was wiser, and to 

Edith was still talking. Herr Grim had sent a 
message that morning to the effect that Winifred 
could have a hearing at the Cosmopolitan Opera 
House at half past three, on the afternoon of Thurs- 
day next. He wished to hear her sing " Lucia," or 
if not that, then a scene from " Traviata," and if 
she were not there at the exact hour, another 
would take her place. 

" He will probably be an hour late himself," 


remarked Edith wisely, "but you must be there 
on time. The message was rather high-handed, 
but I suppose you had better accept the terms." 

Winifred said she supposed so too ; and then, 
at last, she was alone. So this was all that was 
left her. The life of an opera singer, work 
without success, or valueless triumph. She had 
lost Dan's love lost it through her own fault, 
and the rest of her life must pay the price. And 
Dan was blind ; she had stood unseen before his 
face, as the world of men must forever stand. 
Winifred moaned and shivered, thinking of the 
pity, the loneliness, the horror of it. What was 
her own life, or death, or pain, to this ? But she 
could have made him happy once, for a few years 
before the darkness came, and after it would 
have been enough to answer his loss with the de- 
votion of her life, and well she knew she could 
have kept his love, for there was no mystery of his 
nature which she could not understand, no depth 
or height where she could not meet him. 

But Kate Kate Randolph ! Winifred heard 
a step in the next room. No one must see her 
or speak to her now. She crossed swiftly, and 
locking the door leaned against it, panting. To- 
morrow she would find strength to face the world ; 
but this hour was hers. 


Once or twice she felt she must be going mad : 
she was afraid of her own thoughts ; but she was 
more afraid of the eyes that looked from the mir- 
ror, for in them she saw what must be with her to 
the end of her life. 

When the darkness came to hide the eyes, she 
was glad ; but the night was hideous. Once or 
twice she slept from exhaustion, and once she 
dreamed that she struggled with a great flood 
struggled, cried out, and was drowning, when Dan 
caught her in strong arms, strove against the wa- 
ters with her, and laughed, and kissed her on 
the lips. Then she awoke. Sunlight was coming 
through the window, and another day was ready 
for her. 

She rose to meet it with pale lips that faltered 
no longer. Life must be lived, and she would live 
it proudly and strongly, though it might not hold 
another hour of happiness. 

Chapter XVI 


A PAKT from her love for Dan and the selfish 
.XJL pain of it, there was the knowledge of his mis- 
fortune which roused all that was in her of divine 
womanhood ; and this very tenderness, this aching 
pity, saved her from becoming hard and embittered. 
In the days that followed she spoke little, and the 
lonely eyes asked for no sympathy ; but in a new 
gentleness and thought of others she paid uncon- 
scious tribute to the exquisite and glorified service 
that might have been hers. Outwardly she lived 
as the rest of the world, doing such work as there 
was to do, and smiling when others smiled ; but at 
night she would lie looking into the darkness, and 
pray fiercely, " O God, kill me kill me ! " 

Dan had said, " Don't pray for a breaking of the 
law, Win," and this was the law that he should 
be blind, and under the solemn hand of his fate, in 
the loneliness and darkness of his life, should find 
that which made herself and love seem small. 

But Kate how could there be room for Kate ? 


She had loved him always and given freely what 
Winifred denied ; and if in the ruin of his hopes 
he had stooped to lift the one remaining gift, who 
was she Winifred to blame him ? But it was 
not like Dan to stoop, and though she might have 
lost his love, she knew that to no other woman 
would it be given. For herself there would be no 
other love than Dan, no other husband, or lover ; 
but she had her career, and in pursuit of this Win- 
ifred never wavered. Gladden existence it could 
not ; justify it to some extent it could, and did. 

Her manager was anxious about her. " It would 
seem as if the climate of New York did not agree 
with you," he said once ; " your voice is bad to-day 
and good to-morrow. How do you expect to make 
a success of your debut ? " 

" It must be a success." 

" Must must " He shrugged his shoulders 
impatiently. " How is it to be accomplished, this 
' must ' of which you Americans are so fond ? " 

" But you said the other day when I sang the 
4 Ave Maria' that there was something in my voice 
that had not been there before." 

" Yes, I have not forgotten. You made me want 

to be good, and I do not often want that to be 

good. It is true you have something that is new 

to you ; but you cannot command it, it is here to- 



day and gone tomorrow. That is not the way to 
become great." 

The man left Winifred toying absently with her 
music. Her career was all she had, little enough, 
but all ; and in the immediate present, success was 
threatened by more or less sleepless nights and days 
of misery. Suddenly she looked up, and Kate 
Randolph stood in the doorway. 

During a moment of silence the two women faced 
each other. Kate saw, not the cool, buoyantly con- 
fident girl she remembered, but a still, pale wo- 
man, with sensitive lips, and eyes that were as depth 
upon depth of shadow. 

Winifred came forward and put out her hand ; 
then she saw that in Kate's face was more of sad- 
ness and less of bitterness than there had been two 
years ago, and Kate's eyes no longer looked at her 
with reluctant respect, but fairly, as one looks at 
an equal or an inferior. 

" Are you ill, Winifred ? " asked Kate quietly. 

Winifred moved a chair to the fire. " Won't you 
sit down ? " she said. " Edith is out, but I hope 
you can stay and see me. No, I am not ill." 

Kate seated herself, and unbuttoned her coat, 
talking the while as rapidly, but not so naturally, as 

" What a charming parlor you have I I suppose 


you are great now what, not great ? I have n't 
heard you sing, you see. You are advertised to 
appear this winter, and when you do, quite a party 
of us are coming on to hear you. We only left 
Boston yesterday, and are going back at once." 

Kate paused ; she had come into the room fear- 
ing and respecting Winifred too little to dislike 
her for had she not deserted Dan in his time of 
trial ? But Winifred was holding her with still, 
dark eyes, and though she must be heartless, and 
ungrateful, and vain, there was that in her person- 
ality which made Kate feel at a disadvantage, and 
chatter foolishly in self-defense. 

Winifred watched her gravely. She rarely ex- 
erted herself to make conversation, but just now 
she wanted to keep Kate, and questioned her about 
unimportant matters, such as mutual acquaintances, 
and the success of the grand opera troupe on its 
visit to Boston. Kate answered eagerly to hide 
her unaccountable nervousness. 

" ' La Mira ' was the favorite," she said, " but 
every one did n't like her. Dan thought " she 
caught her breath, startled that this name should 
have been spoken between them. 

After a moment's pause Winifred said quietly, 
" You are with him often ? " 

" Yes," answered Kate. 


Winifred did not move ; but now she looked at 
Kate hungrily. " How is he ? " she asked. 

"I am afraid he works too hard," said Kate. 
When she spoke of Dan, there was a new look in 
her face. Winifred saw it. Perhaps Kate could 
give him something of happiness, and if so 

Because they both loved him, and because he 
was blind, the barriers between them were falling. 
Their questions and answers came slowly, as things 
from the depths will. 

" Have you seen him, Winifred?" 

"Yes." She grew paler as she said it. 

" I mean since " 

" Yes," said Winifred again. 

" Did you think he had changed much ? " 
questioned Kate, almost in a whisper. 

Winifred did not answer, but she turned her face 
so that her cheek rested against the high-backed 
chair. It was a movement oddly suggestive of pain. 
Kate was startled, and began to watch her strangely. 

" He is more like himself than he was a year 
ago," she said. 

" Were you with him soon after his sight 
went ? " questioned Winifred without moving. 

" No ; he would n't see any of us at first. I 
think he suspected us of wanting to be kind 
because we pitied him." 



" I know," whispered Winifred. Then she turned 
her eyes to Kate's face, and in that look the bar- 
riers went down. They were two women loving 
the same man, and neither was ashamed. Kate 
spoke suddenly with low-voiced, tremulous passion. 

" But you went to Russia, Winifred ; you left 
him when he needed you, and only you in all the 

"It was only two months ago that I heard," 
answered Winifred. 

" That you heard " 

" That he was blind." 

The beating of Kate's heart was suffocating. 
Winifred was strangely still. 

" But my letter " 

"What letter?" 

" The one I wrote in Paris you must remem- 
ber. You know the time I saw you. Dan was 
blind then, and I knew it. I meant to tell you, 
only only I could n't ; so I wrote instead." 

" You wrote me two years ago that he was 

" Yes, yes ! you must have received it, Winifred. 
The concierge took it herself ; she told me you had 
it and you went to Russia just the same." 

" I never saw the letter," said Winifred, and 
again she turned away her face, with closed eyes. 


There was a silence, and then Kate cried out 

"Winifred! Winifred! if you had seen the 
letter, would you have come back? " 

But Winifred did not answer, and the moveless 
profile outlined against the chair told nothing. 

' Dan thinks you knew two years ago," con- 
tinued Kate. 

" It is no matter now," said Winifred. 

" Shall I tell him how it was ? " 

" It is no matter now," repeated Winifred. Then 
she turned and looked at Kate. 

" Why did n't you tell me, instead of writing ? " 
she asked. 

"Because I hated you and because I have 
loved Dan all my life," said Kate. " Afterwards I 
wrote, because I loved him more than I hated you, 
and if you would make him happy " 

Winifred rose, and walked to and fro across 
the room. Kate watched her with her hand at her 
side. Since Winifred loved Dan, it was all over 
for her, and there was a look of wild misery in her 
eyes. Suddenly Winifred paused by her chair. 

" Kate," she said gently. 

Kate looked up to meet grave, deep eyes and 
smiling lips. Winifred was holding out her hand- 

" I wish you would try not to hate me any 


longer," she said. " I have been a hard woman 
an unkind one often, I am afraid ; but perhaps I 
have been most unkind to myself, and that should 
make it easier to forgive me, Kate." She smiled 
again. The hand that held Kate's was firm, and 
the steady voice low and thrilling. "Perhaps 
some day you will tell Dan of the lost letter," she 
continued ; " I don't like to have him think his old- 
est friend could be so unkind as to have kept silent 
during these two years. You will tell him ? " 
The last words were more a command than a 

" Yes," answered Kate tremulously, as she rose. 

" And you will not keep on hating me always? " 

Kate looked up. 

" I never knew you before," she said with a dry, 
choking sob. " I might have known I might 
have known he could never care for me, after lov- 
ing you." 


Chapter XVII 


IT was during these first winter months that 
Walter Garrison won the desire of his life : 
Edith Meredith returned his love. 

"I thought," she confided to him, "that you 
would never find it out." 

" Did you find it out about me about my car- 
ing, I mean?" he asked with a lover's incoher- 

She raised her head from his shoulder to look at 
him. " Stupid," she said, and nestled back into 
her former position. " Stupid," she repeated. 
" Why, I knew it ages and ages ago." 

" No ! did you, though ! " he exclaimed with 
honest surprise. " How many ages ago ? " and this 
involved a discussion as to the precise moments in 
which certain words, looks, and feelings had come 

" Why did n't you ask me before ? " she inquired 

" I was afraid you would say no." 


" Afraid ! Nonsense ! A man should never be 
afraid. Poor Dan never was he told Win he 
loved her every minute he was with her." 

"Did she repeat his words to you?" asked 
Walter indignantly. 

" Of course not ! She would never talk of him, 
but have n't I eyes and ears ? and as for words, do 
you think words are the only things with which to 
say I love'?" 

Edith hesitated. There was one point which 
she felt almost afraid to approach with Walter, 
but on this occasion she ventured. 

" Is he going to marry Kate ? " she asked. 

Walter crossed his knees and looked gloomily at 
the toe of his boot. 

" I don't know," he answered. 

" What do you think ? " 

" I don't know," he said again. 

" It destroys all one's ideas of constancy ; I can't 
believe in any one now," complained Edith. 

Walter frowned. " Dan is not to blame," he 
said. " Your sister took the best he had for the 
best part of his life, and gave him nothing back. 
Dan 's not to blame." 

" No, dear, of course not. Did I ever say he 
was ? " 

Walter continued an obstinate defense of his 


friend in the longest sentence he was ever heard to 

" She gave him nothing. God knows what she 
made him suffer, and what he has had to suffer 
from life since, and what he must suffer till he dies. 
And now, if there comes a woman who gives him 
all Winifred denied him, he is blamed for taking 
it. Do you ever think of the loneliness of blind- 
ness, Edith ? " 

" Yes, dear ; and will you think of something 
else Win's eyes when his name is mentioned." 

Walter recrossed his knees, and looked at the toe 
of his other boot. 

" Have you noticed ? " asked Edith. 

He nodded. 

" She loves him, Walter." 

" Yes," he assented gravely. 

" Now that you have got over being angry with 
me for blaming Dan which I never did tell 
me what we can do about it ? " 

" We can't do anything ; I know Dan." 

" He is going to marry Kate." 

Walter tugged at his mustache. 

" Dan 's a fool," he said gloomily. 

" Does he " began Edith, and paused. 

" I don't know." 

"It is terrible two such lives being ruined 


through a misunderstanding! Couldn't you ask 
him could n't you tell him " 

" I should like to see any one try," he said em- 

" I should never dare to say anything to Win," 
acknowledged Edith. " She and Dan are the kind 
who must make or spoil their own lives ; no one 
can help or save them. But it 's terrible ! They 
were made for each other." 

A few days later, Walter announced his inten- 
tion of going to tell Dan of his engagement. 

"Oh, Walter, must you? How long will it 
take ? " cried Edith, much distressed. 

" I can go one night and come back the next." 

" Then I cannot see you for a whole day. Why 
not write to him ? " 

" And have Stirling read it ? " 

That was of course impossible, and Walter 

" I think I am a little, just a little, jealous of 
Dan," said Edith, while Walter's arms held her in 
a good-by embrace. "I used to think when I first 
knew you, that you would never care for any 
woman as you cared for him." 

" I used to think so too." 

" And now no, don't kiss me and now? " 

" Now I do." 



" As much no, you can't kiss me yet only 
as much ? or more ? " 

" More," answered Walter with a deep breath. 

When he arrived in Boston, Walter was told 
that Dan had gone out of town to interview a sick 
client, but was expected back during the early 
afternoon. So he renewed old associations, and 
several of his classmates lunched with him at the 

Of Dan he heard different accounts. Some 
spoke of him as the greatest lawyer in the state, 
but reproached him for sternness and coldness in 
his personal relations. It was agreed that Stirling, 
the little secretary, would give his life as a step- 
ping-stone to anything his employer might need, 
from which it was argued that Dan must have his 
moments of relenting. But many there were who 
feared him, or felt uncomfortable before the im- 
mense reserve and gravity of his personality. Ex- 
cept in court his words were few, and the dryly 
humorous smile that sometimes crossed his face 
never softened it. 

It was agreed that in this one winter he had 
withdrawn more than ever into himself, and that 
human intercourse with him became increasingly 

If his acceptance of his lot were plucky, it was 


said to be unchristian; but then it was a well 
known fact that Dan Howard was not a church- 
man, and had refused all religious consolation. 
Upon this there ensued a discussion concerning 
the meaning of the word religion, and many things 
were said of an unorthodox nature. One man 
claimed that the church was only for those who 
were not strong enough to do without it ; and this 
statement provoked an angry retort, to the effect 
that it was just like Daniel Howard to think he 
was stronger than any one else, and the argument 
reached that point where each man feels a contrary 
opinion to be a personal grievance. 

Walter took no part in the conversation. The 
days when a blow answered abuse of Dan were 
over, and when it came to words, Dan had many 
more eloquent defenders than he. 

He left the table with a heavy heart and wrote 
to Edith, an occupation which afforded him infi- 
nite consolation, although he knew that the letter 
could not reach her before he did. It was a long 
letter, but the writing of it did not occupy him till 
the hour of Dan's arrival. So he wandered aim- 
lessly about the streets, pausing at old landmarks 
and recalling the days of his lifelong friendship 
with Dan. There were the early memories of him, 
a wild, whimsically reckless boy; and then, in the 


pride of his youthful arrogance, as the roughest 
player on the eleven, the hero of " bloody Monday 
night." Later there came the shadow of Wini- 
fred and a grim settling of lips and jaw as Dan 
recognized his life's object. Then followed years 
of unwavering pursuit of the goal, a fearless chal- 
lenge of results, and finally the awful hour when 
the heavens crashed through his life, leaving it in 
ruins. After the first moments of fear and horror 
he had turned his face resolutely towards the 
waste spaces in which he must walk the rest of his 
days, and no one had seen him falter. Walter 
knew that the reserve and apparent coldness were 
assumed as an armor, an evidence of the untam- 
able pride that had been his in his youth. The 
change in him this winter could only be accounted 
for by this advent of Winifred, which had brought 
an added strain to bear on his powers of endurance. 
Even thoughts of Edith could not quiet the 
ache in Walter's heart as he neared his old friend's 


Chapter XVIII 


"YT'ES, Mr. Howard had returned," the clerk 
J_ told him. He was in the inner office dictat- 
ing to a stenographer, and through the open door 
Walter could see him. He looked tired, and older ; 
there was some gray in his hair that surely had not 
been there in the autumn, but there was more than 
this, and Walter did not wonder that some feared 
the tragedy of that granite hewn face with its 
sightless eyes. And this was Dan, who had dared 
so much and whose hopes had been so high. 

Walter would not interrupt him. " I will wait 
till he finishes this piece of work," he said in a low 
voice. But Dan raised his head suddenly, and 
stopped dictating. 

" Who is in the outer office ? " he called, and 
Walter was forced to declare himself. 

There was no lack of warmth in the powerful 
grip of Dan's hands. " I am awfully glad to see 
you hear you, I mean," he said heartily. " When 
do you go back ? " 



" To-night. Can't you knock off work soon ? " 

" There 's only one letter to finish. I can be 
with you in a moment." 

Walter waited while last affairs were concluded. 
There were questions to ask and answer, and a gar- 
rulous client came in with a grievance. Being 
Saturday, the clerks were anxious to go, and the 
delay caused confusion and impatience. Dan sat 
unmoved in the midst of it all, directing, control- 
ling, quieting, without a sign of impatience or 

" I notice you never swear now," Walter said, 
as they went out into the street together. " Is it 
the result of special virtue ? " 

" No, it is the result of inadequacy. If I could 
find an oath big enough, I should use it. But I 
don't believe the man who invented swearing ever 
went blind. Tell me about yourself, Wally. You 
don't know how good it is to hear your voice 

Yes, Dan had grown older. Walter did not 
want to tell his happiness to that worn face. 

" You are working too hard," he said. " What 's 
the use ? " 

" It 's the only way. It keeps me tired, and then 
I don't feel so young." 

"Where is Stirling?" 



" Gone to see his mother and sister. Imagine 
having a mother and sister to go to ! " 

It would have been better had Dan been cold, as 
the world thought him. How could Walter tell 
this lonely man of his love and happiness ? 

" I should n't have thought of you as domestic, 
exactly," he said. 

" No, I suppose I get weak-minded sitting in the 

" Is Stirling still satisfactory ? " 

" Yes. I don't know what I should do without 
him ; he is a good boy, but he has his limitations." 

Dan smiled and his face softened amazingly. 

" Stirling and I have queer experiences," he con- 
tinued. " Sometimes when I am in the country I 
have a foolish hankering to know if the sky is blue. 
Stirling often describes it as brown. I am hardly 
an authority on color, but I do know that no sky 
ever was brown. Then he tells me the Green 
Mountains look green, which is the one and only 
color they never are. I told him his sense of color 
was defective, and that I should have to send him 
to an art school. Of course he took the remark 
seriously, as he takes everything, and feared he 
should not be able to find time for such study. By 
what followed I imagine the threat troubled him, 
and the next time I asked how the country looked, 


I was amazed to hear him launch doubtfully at 
first into a description of such extravagant pic- 
turesqueness and variety of color and form as I 
know never existed among our New England hills. 
I wanted to laugh, but thought better of it ; and 
then began to wonder where I had heard some- 
thing like this before. At last, it came to me he 
was quoting Walter Scott ! The poor boy, prob- 
ably distressed by his inability to satisfy me, had 
gone to an authority on nature, and leaving out 
such cliffs and ramparts and waterfalls as would 
be too incongruous, was reciting whole pages of 
highland scenery. Since then he has grown bold 
under my apparent unsuspicion. I listen atten- 
tively, and probably look as edified as I feel. It 
is almost as pathetic as it is ludicrous. He must 
have sat up many nights to learn all that stuff, and 
I laugh at him in my sleeve ; but I can't find it in 
my heart to tell him that I know, and the memory 
of my Lilton meadows has become confused and 
lurid. Stirling is absurdly young in many things, 
and his lack of humor is a trial ; but he is clever 
and shrewd in other directions, besides which he 
thinks I have all the known virtues, with the addi- 
tion of a few invented for my particular use, and 
such an attitude is very gratifying in a constant 



Walter listened and laughed, but felt none the 
less heavy hearted. 

" Have n't you anything to tell me about your 
own affairs ? " asked Dan at last, and Walter could 
contain himself no longer. He turned about and 
grasped Dan's hand. 

" I have won her ! " he cried, with joy and tri- 
umph in his voice. 

Dan nearly wrung his hand off. " But what a 
secretive dog you are ! " he said. " Why did n't 
you tell me before, instead of letting me talk on 
about myself?" 

Walter needed no encouragement to continue. 
He extolled, declaimed, and congratulated himself 
in a more or less insane manner and at indefinite 
length, for being what he firmly believed he was 
the happiest man in the world. The reserve and 
quiet of a lifetime were forgotten, and for this one 
hour Walter was nothing but a love-mad boy. 

Dan wondered if he could ever have sounded so 
deliriously foolish if things had turned out differ- 
ently. He thought not ; his love for Winifred had 
always been too deep and sacred to speak of, even 
with Walter. 

" I suppose you go back to her this evening," he 

" I promised." Walter spoke doubtfully, for he 


remembered that not even Stirling would be with 
Dan to-night. 

" Of course. You would n't be fool enough to 
stay over for me, even if I did n't always go with 
Kate to the Saturday evening concert." 

"With Kate you mean Kate Randolph?" 
asked Walter quickly. 

" Yes. I think I used to be unjust to poor 

" Why poor Kate ? " 

" Because something in her voice tells me she is 
a very unhappy woman." 

Dan's face and words were unsuspecting, but it 
seemed odd that Kate should take to concert going. 

When the moment for parting arrived, Walter 
took his leave reluctantly. "You mustn't think 
this will make any difference between you and me," 
he said. 

Dan smiled. 

" Hang it all," exclaimed Walter, " you do think 
so. What 's the use of getting married, if old 
friends are going to the wall ? " 

" I don't know," said Dan. " I am not getting 


Chapter XIX 


night's concert had been postponed, as 
JL Dan had known when he sent Walter away ; 
so there followed hours of silence, while he sat 
alone in the dark, fighting with such untamable 
elements as still cried out in his life. 

Walter's visit had stirred memories of what had 
been, and of what might have been, if fate had 
not chosen to make him blind. His thoughts grew 
clamorous as hungry things will, and with head in 
hands he wrestled with himself till the night 
seemed nearly over, when he felt the hands of 
the clock to find that it was only ten. 

He stretched out his long arms and knew their 
strength ; he counted the years of his life and 
knew his youth. Then he groped his way to a 

" I wonder if I shall ever have the satisfaction 
of knowing why I was born," he said aloud. 

Suddenly he heard Kate's voice. " May I come 
in, Dan ? " she called. 



" I am not sure," he answered as he opened the 
door for her. " It was imprudent of you to come. 
I hope no one saw you." 

" Will you hold my cloak while I find a light? " 
she answered, quietly ignoring his fear for her. 

As she touched the electric button she scanned 
Dan's face eagerly and saw signs of recent strife. 

" You have been having the blues," she said. 

" I think every blue devil that walks abroad is 
rampant to-night. Your voice tells me they have 
been with you, too." 

" You have a quick ear, Dan. I am on my way 
to a party next door; but it is early yet, and I 
have some things to say to you. First, you must 
let me stir the fire. It is bitterly cold here." 

Dan was pleased by the sound of a woman's 
voice, and the gentle rustle of her skirts; very 
soon he felt a welcome warmth from the revived 
fire. Kate's opera cloak still lay across his knees. 

" It is nice to have you here," he said ; " but 
you ought not to have come. I suppose the party 
accounts for the magnificence of this cloak. It 
seems to be all lace and velvet and things. I 
don't think I have had anything so pretty in my 
hands for many a long day. What color is it ? " 

" Yellow," said Kate. 

Dan remembered an evening when Winifred 


had worn a yellow dress. He did not speak again 
at once, and Kate watched him from where she 
knelt on the hearth-rug, her brilliant dress in 
strange contrast to the bareness of the room. 

" I am going away," she said suddenly. 

" Going away ? " 

" Yes. I have brought you my season ticket 
for our concerts. Give it to any one you choose. 
Where shall I put it ? " 

" On the table, please. I can't think of any 
one to give it to just now. Why are you going ? " 

" Mamma is ill. The doctor says we must go 
away. I shall not come back." 

" I shall miss you, Kate." 

"Really, Dan?" 

"' Really truly,' " he quoted the childish 
phrase with a smile. " Perhaps you will come 

"No I am going to marry Lord de Nor- 

" You love him ? " 


" I hope you will be happy." 

" But you don't think so ; neither do I. Mamma 
will be, and she has n't many years to live." 

" That is a wrong idea of sacrifice," said Dan 



"Not for me. After all, it doesn't make so 
much difference what one does. The great thing 
is to get through with it life, I mean as soon 
as possible." 

" I have never felt that I had the right to ask 
you what your trouble was," said Dan. 

She still knelt on the hearth-rug and leaned her 
head against the arm of a chair. 

" I have loved one man all my life, and that 
is all," said Kate. 

" That is the worst." He spoke gravely and 
pityingly. " Is there another woman ? " 

" Yes ; but if there were not it would have been 
the same for me." 

The firelight danced and gleamed on the bare 
room, on Dan with his stern, gravely brooding 
face, on Kate's brilliant dress, on Kate's closed 
eyes, and the tears that slipped from under her 
lids. The clock struck. 

" I ought to go," she said, but knelt on without 
moving. " And this is good-by. We have n't got 
much out of life, have we, Dan ? I wonder how 
much longer it is going to last." 

" I sometimes wonder that myself." 

" I don't suppose we shall pass this way again," 
continued Kate. " We have had our chance and 
we have lost it. Life ought not to have failed for 


you," she said passionately. " For me that was 
different. I brought things on myself; but you, 
Dan, you deserved the best." 

" Instead of which, something stepped on me," 
he interrupted dryly. " It seems as if there must 
be a mistake somewhere, does n't it ? " 

Kate rose. " I must go," she said. 

" Tell me first if this De Normandy is a good 
sort of man." 

" Would the best sort of man marry me ? " 

" I hoped that was all over," said Dan earnestly. 

" It has been since I have been with you 
since last winter, I mean. Oh, Dan, you believe 
me, don't you ? " There was piteous appeal in her 

" I do, Kate." 

She caught her breath. " We are parting, you 
know and and there is one more thing. You 
remember once I listened and you thought I 
would tell you despised me so." Her voice 
failed, and he stood above her waiting, ignorant 
of the passion of appeal, despair, and love that 
was in her face. 

"You looked at me," she continued breath- 
lessly, " and the look has been scorching my life 
away ever since. Could n't you take it back now ? 
I was wrong to listen ; but I thought trouble was 


coming to you. And I would n't have told, not if 
they had killed me for it. So can't you take back 
what you thought of me then, now that we are 
parting now that we are parting, Dan Won't 
you try, honestly, to take it back?" 

" I think I can take it back without trying very 
hard," he said kindly. " Indeed, I took it back 
some time ago. I am sorry I was so much of a 
brute ; it is you who must try to forgive me. You 
see I was n't very cheerful at that time." 

He held out his hand to her. 

" Poor little Kate," he said. 

She clung to him. " You mean it Yes, I 
know you mean it. I was so afraid to ask. Good- 
by, Dan Don't always remember me by to- 
night. I don't usually talk so about myself only 
we were parting, and you understand partly. 
When I tell mamma, she says I ought not to blame 
her for my unhappiness, because she has always 
done her duty by me, and sent me to the best 
dressmakers." Kate laughed mournfully. 

" Poor little Kate," said Dan again. 

" Don't don't be kind to me. I can't bear it 
to-night. And there is one thing more." She 
faltered and caught her voice on the edge of a 
frightened sob. " There is one thing I want to 
ask of you ; I will never ask anything again. But 


you say you said just now that you had changed 
your mind about me. I know I have n't been the 
right sort of girl, not the kind the best men want 
for sisters or wives. And then you looked at me 
that way, and I understood for the first time, and 
I have tried to change only people would not 
believe me. It makes it so hard when no one be- 
lieves. But there has n't been anything since that 
you could n't respect. I swear it, Dan I swear 
it Oh, my God, how can I make you believe 

" Hush, Kate hush. I do believe you." 

She was quivering hysterically. 

" I never had a brother to tell me, or to care how 
I went. Mamma never cared, nor you. But now 
now that we are parting, do you think you could 

you said you believed me do you think you 
could kiss me just once as a brother kisses a sister 
he respects ? I never had any one to kiss me that 
way, and if you could if you can't, don't pretend 

but if you could kiss me just once like that I 
think I think it would make me a better woman 
all my life, Dan." 

" My poor little girl ! Where are you ? " 
She came to him, and bending, he kissed her 
lightly on the forehead. He was pale, for it might 


have been Winifred, but he kept Kate's hands, 
though she trembled and tried to draw from 

" Be careful what you do. Living can hurt too 
much to be trifled with," he said. " I cannot bear 
to think of your marrying this man. Have you 
given the other one a fair chance ? " 

" Yes, it 's no use. I was fool enough to think 
it might be once. It doesn't matter for me. 
I shall do as well with De Normandy as I could 
with any one." 

She looked up into his face, and met the unsee- 
ing eyes. " I never can believe it has come to 
you," she whispered tremulously. 

" Why not to me as well as to another ? " 

" If I could only think of you as happy I should 
n't mind the other things so much. I think I 
think you will be happy some day. Dan, the last 
time I went to New York I never told you 
but I want you to know before I go I saw Win- 
ifred, and she never heard about you till this 
autumn. My letter miscarried." 

" That 's all right," said Dan. 

" She told me to tell you," continued Kate. " She 
looked as if her heart were broken, Dan. If you 
saw her you would hardly know her." 


" I am not likely to see her," he answered dryly. 

Kate was talking insane nonsense, and he evi- 
dently resented intrusion into his holy of holies ; 
but she went on bravely. 

" She is going to sing next week at the Cosmo- 
politan-. Are you going to hear her ? " 

" I had not thought of it." 

" She wants you to be there." 

" Suppose we change the subject, Kate ? " 

Then Kate told her last lie. 

" She told me she hoped you would be there. 
Good-by, Dan good-by." 

He heard Kate close the door, listened to her 
vanishing steps, then went back to silence and 

Kate sobbed as she ran down the dark stairway. 
" He will marry Winifred some day," she cried, 
" but nothing can ever make me forget that once 
he kissed me as a brother would kiss a sister he 

Dan sat in his chair. It was not in the man to 
suspect Kate's love for him. He knew as little of 
it as he knew of the light that streamed into his 
eyes. There was only room in his thoughts for 
one love, and this great love must be love without 
service to the end. An hour later he had not 


moved, and iron tongues from the church spires 
called out the midnight. 

" Life is long," he said aloud to himself. " The 
mills of God grind slowly." And he bowed his 
head as if in prayer. 


Chapter XX 


DAN decided to go on to New York for Wini- 
fred's debut ; also he would call upon her, 
and stop her from worrying about the lost letter. 
He did not feel sure that she would care to see him ; 
but it could not do any harm to take one hour of 
her life, and he was hungering intolerably for 
the sound of her. " She will have to want to see 
me," he said with a whimsical flash of his old arro- 

Poor Kate had evidently some ridiculous notions 
about Winifred's feeling for him ; but it was pos- 
sible she wished him to be present at her debut, 
and he felt that he had received orders. He must 
take Stirling, of course, and leave his business to 
Providence and the devil. He told himself that he 
was a fool ; but felt the fact to be immaterial. 

A few days before his departure, he was coming 
home from his office, when a vaguely familiar 
voice addressed him. 

"I am Dr. Davage," said the voice. "You 


should have good cause to remember me. I thought 
I should like to see what had become of you." 

" Which is easily seen." 

" And that means that you want to be rid of me. 
Won't you dismiss your companion instead, and let 
me walk with you wherever you are going? " 

Dan smiled. " I should not imagine myself a good 
advertisement for an oculist," he said. " You may 
go, Stirling. Take a bicycle ride. Never mind the 
work. You 're tired I hear it in your voice." 

The doctor looked keenly into Dan's face. " You 
are killing yourself by degrees," he observed. " I 
suppose you know that." 

" I had n't thought about it," said Dan tran- 

" Then you 're playing a fool's part. When 
your health goes, work goes with it. Why have n't 
you shot yourself ? I never believed you would 
stick it out two years." 

" I am inclined to think you ought to be ashamed 
of yourself," said Dan. " Suppose I were to take 
your advice." 

" You would do no more than I intend doing 

" You mean " 

" Exactly. I have a trouble which won't kill 
or cure, but I have no mind to lengthen the chain 


of an unprofitable existence, and am debating as to 
the easiest way of ending it. Won't you have a 

" No, thank you. I can't seem to enjoy smoking 
in the dark." 

" True, the blind don't smoke. Seems like add- 
ing insult to injury, does n't it ? " 

" You mean depriving a man of sight and vices 
at the same time ? I have thought so myself." 

The doctor grinned delightedly. " I like to see a 
fellow game, though he is a fool," he said. " Let 's 
argue the matter out. What have you got from 
existence during the last two years ? " 
" No particular satisfaction." 
" What has any one else got from it ? " 
" Nothing, that I can think of at the moment." 
" Why not get out then ? It 's easy enough." 
" In the first place I am inclined to think it a 

" Bah ! I did n't suppose you would be afraid 
of a sin." 

Dan smiled. " I could n't be more afraid of 
anything than I am of living. But some one sooner 
or later suffers from every sin that is committed. 
I don't want to swell the world's sum of pain." 

" So you believe in divine ordering ? You have 



" There is something bigger than myself, or I 
should not be blind to-day." 

" Nonsense, my dear sir, nonsense ! It is fate, 
circumstance, call it what you will." 

" Exactly. Call it what you will." 

" I see ; you call it God." 

" I am not sure." 

" Ah." The doctor was silent for a short time. 
" Ah," he said again. " I was right. You have 
reverence, too much to label and ticket your be- 
liefs. You 're one of the devout freethinkers. 
The twentieth century will be peopled with them." 
He puffed impatiently at his cigar. " It is the in- 
solence of the whole business that I don't like," he 
continued. " We never asked to be born." 

" It does seem as if we might have been con- 
sulted about that," Dan admitted. 

" We are not consulted about coming here, nor 
about much that happens while we are here. Why 
should we submit ? There is only one way of de- 
fying fate. I am going to profit by it. I rather 
hoped you would, too, it would be vastly more 

" No. I shall keep at it as I have begun," said 

Dan. " Nobody ever lived who did n't die. I can 

keep that knowledge for days of unusual length. 

I would n't do it if I were you, doctor. You 're 



too good a man. Think about it, and remember 
there 's nothing to prevent your going any moment 
you want." 

" There 's something in that view," said Davage. 
" And it would be interesting to know what became 
of you." 

" I am written in the past tense," said Dan, 
" but you what if you are ill. Good God, man, 
you have your sight ! " He spoke with fierce, sud- 
den passion, and then he caught himself and almost 
immediately raised a white face with a twisted 
smile on it. " I don't think any one ever heard 
me do that," he said. 

Dr. Davage answered nothing for a moment, and 
Dan walked in silence also. "There is some- 
thing else beside his blindness," thought the doc- 
tor. " Perhaps some fool of a woman has jilted 

" I wish I might have met a man like you ear- 
lier," he continued aloud. " It is too late now." 

" It 's never too late," said Dan. 

" Yes it is. "We 've lived our lives, and I am on 
the brink. It seems as if we ought to have more 
than one chance of living, does n't it ? " 

" I don't want another I got too hard hit the 
first time." 

" Well, well, perhaps you 're right. I sha'n't 


see you again after to-day. You 're a brave fel- 
low, Howard, but I think you 're a fool for your 

It happened that on the afternoon of Dan's jour- 
ney to New York, Dr. Davage knocked at the door 
of his room. " Do you know me this time ? " he 

" Yes so you thought better of it." 

" Humph ! if you call it better. Let me sit down. 
The stairs have knocked me up." 

"I am sorry," said Dan. "Can't I get you 
something? I think I might find some whiskey 
after a certain amount of blundering." 

" No, it will pass it 's my heart." Dan found 
his way back to a chair. 

"I am sorry my secretary is buying railroad 
tickets," he said; "he might have been of some 

" I don't want your secretary," said the doctor 
testily, being much put to it to get his breath. 
" Why do you live seven stories high ? " 

" I used to like the view," said Dan with a dry 
smile. " And when my eyes went, I knew the lay 
of the land, and could find things." 

" It 's rather a gloomy looking room, but I don't 
suppose you mind that." 



"It doesn't trouble me seriously," answered 

There was a kindness in the doctor's voice that 
took from his pitiless plainness of speech. 

" I came to tell you that I have decided to stick 
it out," he said after a pause. 

" I am glad to hear that," Dan answered heart- 
ily. " What changed your mind ? " 

" I saw you find your way upstairs alone the 
other day after I said good-by." 

" Ah and the moral of that is " There was 
an almost imperceptible contraction of Dan's lips. 

" I was ashamed of myself. If you could stand 
up under such fire, I thought I might face mine." 

" That 's rather amusing," said Dan. 

" Can't see it," answered Davage. 

" I always knew I must be a spectacle when I 
went round by myself, people can look the other 
way if they don't like it, but now it seems I am 
a promoter of virtue." 

" I am glad you regard it as a virtue ; I call it 
damned obstinacy, or pride, or anything else you 
like. But I thought it might be a satisfaction to 
you to know that your example is responsible for 
my continued existence and suffering. In fact, 
I came up these troublesome stairs to-day to tell 
you that as far as I am responsible, I shall continue 


to exist and suffer as long as you do. Do you 
expect me to thank you for it ? " 

*' No," answered Dan. 

" That 's sensible of you, for I am not conscious 
of gratitude as yet. It will be interesting to 
see what becomes of you." 

Davage looked at him for a little while in silence, 
then he rose and put a hand on his shoulder. 

" Do you know that I like you better than any 
man I ever saw ? " he said. 

" That 's curious," answered Dan. " I like you, 
too, which is more curious still, for you don't spare 
my sensibilities especially." 

" I am not as bad as I sound." 

" I have suspected as much." 

" So it 's friendship, then for what 's left to 

" Here 's my hand on it," said Dan. 

" And if I don't bring you anything else, you 
will have the never ending satisfaction of knowing 
that you are responsible for my being alive, and 
cursing pretty much every day that comes along." 

" Thanks," said Dan. " I don't get much satis- 
faction from life, so I '11 make the best of that." 

Chapter XXI 


THE day before Winifred's appearance at the 
Cosmopolitan was bitterly cold. She shivered 
and drew her furs about her as she stepped into 
the street after the last rehearsal. The occasion 
had been a trying one : the tenor was hoarse and 
had sworn with due regard for vocal cords 
at his inability to sustain his highest note. The 
contralto had flatted, and ruined her duet with 
Winifred, who shared the consequent blame. The 
impresario, who sat in the first gallery, was out 
of temper, and shouted hoarse commands across a 
waste of empty theatre. Nothing went well, and 
the cast an illy clad set of Italians and French 
frowned upon Winifred, who had laughed when 
the high-priest tripped over his worsted muffler in 
the very act of a solemn prayer. 

Every one has heard of the disillusion of an 
empty theatre, and many have seen it the barren 
stage, with its dust and heaps of shabby scenery, 


the vast, dimly lighted, echoing spaces beyond, and 
the gaping galleries. 

When Winifred stepped on the stage for her 
last duet and solo, she had been in a mood of reck- 
less misery, and looking into the shadowy theatre 
had sung out something of the passion and despair 
that was in her heart. 

The chorus ceased whispering, and the impre- 
sario nodded, and rubbed his hands. "Zat will 
do zat will do," he exclaimed, coming down to 
the footlights when she had finished. " If you 
sing like zat to-morrow night I gives you any 
single zing you want ; but if you do not " 
He shook his fist playfully, and dismissed the 
troupe with restored good-humor. Winifred went 
out into the early twilight, shivering, and, partly 
because of a deadly weariness, forgetful of her 

There was no cab as usual at the corner, and 
the cars were crowded with Christmas shoppers. 
In spite of her fatigue, Winifred preferred walk- 
ing to the crush of a Broadway train, and the 
rattle of Fifth Avenue 'buses jarred her nerves 
intolerably. Nerves were a new discovery to 
Winifred, as was the possibility of being tired and 
the wakeful nights. She despised herself for these 


weaknesses ; surely Dan would have been braver. 
To-day she was more tired than usual, and the 
ache of simple every-day existence seemed almost 
unbearable. Of course she would live to be old 

she was so strong, and after awhile living 
would n't hurt so much ; but Winifred knew she 
could never be very glad, or very sorry, for any- 
thing again. 

The walk home seemed endless, and she told 
herself the twilight on the snow was as the light 
on a dead face. At her hotel the elevator boy in- 
formed her that a gentleman was waiting in her 
apartments; and in the parlor she found dusk, 
and firelight, and Dan rose to meet her. She 
gave a little cry when she saw him, and stood still 
on the threshold. 

" Is it you, Winifred ? " he asked. 

She went to him swiftly. " You surprised me 

I did n't expect you," she said, hoping he would 
not hear the breathlessness in her voice. 

His hand held hers with the strong clasp she 
knew so well ; but standing before the unseeing 
eyes it seemed as if her heart broke afresh. 

" How was the rehearsal ? " he asked her quite 
naturally. " But you have grown thin," he added. 
" Why is that ? " 

With a great effort Winifred commanded her- 


self. " How did you know I had been to a re- 
hearsal, or that I had grown thin ? " she was able 
to ask him lightly. 

" Edith told me the first she has gone out 
now with Walter, who brought me here. The sec- 
ond I felt when you gave me your hand. Are n't 
you well, Win ? Kate feared you were not." 

She drew her breath sharply. Had he come to 
tell her of his engagement ? 

" Why have you come ? " she asked. 

" Because I wanted to," he answered dryly ; 
" and now that I am here I must remind you of 
the insignificant fact that I am blind, that I don't 
know where the chair is I have just left, and that 
I must stand indefinitely unless you show me to 
another. Possibly you prefer standing, in which 
case I am willing to stand also ; but we should 
both be uncomfortable and " Winifred's hands 
were on his arm. 

" I am so sorry ! " she interrupted brokenly, " I 
was thinking I mean but don't think I ever 
forget for a single hour, or minute, or second 
don't think I shall ever forget till I die " 

" There, there," he said quickly, " I did n't want 
you to say all that ; I was in fun." 

" What kind of a chair do you like ? Have 
you grown very particular about your chairs ? " 


Winifred asked, with something that might have 
been a sob or a laugh. 

"I prefer one with arms, if you ask me," he 
said, " for I like to be able to get hold of some- 
thing with my hands." He laughed himself 
through set teeth. " We did n't use to do things 
this way did we, Win ? " he added as she took 
him to a seat. 

Then he asked her about herself, her health, her 
success or failure. He had heard the catch in her 
voice when she first saw him, and told himself that 
probably he was something of a shock to her since 
he had gone blind, for she had been fond of him 
if she had been fond of any one. If seeing him 
continued to distress her as it had done to-day, he 
must keep out of her way; but he hoped she 
would get used to it, for now that she knew he 
made no claims on her, there could be no harm in 
his seeing her once a year or so, learning of her 
life from her own lips, knowing the strong joy of 
being near her, and going to hell for a day or two 

There was no one thing he could give her, no 

service he could ever render her while he lived 

that was the worst of it. He would have liked to 

have stood between her and the world, instead of 



which he could only hope not to be a shadow on 
her life. 

Perhaps when she got used to seeing him 
stumble and grope she might be glad to meet 
him from time to time, for she had given him the 
best she had for eight years, and he had been the 
only man in her life. Dan knew this as he knew 
his own soul. 

In the mean time she seemed to be getting used 
to him. She answered him naturally, told of her 
life in Russia, of the people she had met, of where 
she had succeeded and failed. The mutual sympa- 
thy and comprehension that had been theirs in the 
past was like an undertow between them to-day ; 
each knew the other's unspoken word, and the 
larger meaning of the spoken one. So it hap- 
pened that in the joy of this hour's companionship 
they forgot past and future. 

His interest was vital and inexhaustible, and 
the old whimsical humor was keen as ever. Often 
he would laugh at her. "That is so like you, 
Win," and again he would disapprove and scold 
her. " If I had been there you would not have 
done it," he said to her once. 

" I know it," she admitted, " but you see you 
were not, so I did ; but I knew what you would 


say. I always knew how you would feel about 
everything ; I used to long to talk things over with 
you. I could n't understand why you did n't write 
you see I never knew " 

They paused, and realizing the brink of the 
precipice could forget no longer. 

" I never heard, till I came back two or three 
months ago." 

" I know," he answered. " Kate told me her 
letter did not reach you." 

" And you thought I knew, Dan, all these 
years, and kept silent ? " 

" What else could you have done ? crossed the 
ocean to tell me you were sorry ? I can't have you 
troubled about that; Kate gave me to under- 
stand that you were troubled." 

Kate again ; what else had Kate told him ? 
Winifred was not jealous, and she had thought her 
love too great for pride ; but the blood rushed 
hotly to her head. Had Dan suspected, and was 
he trying to be good to her ? 

" Kate was right," she said with a firm, clear 
ring to her voice. " I was troubled it seemed a 
poor return " 

" Did I ever ask for payment, Winifred ? " He 
spoke gravely and proudly, and her own pride fell 
before the memory of that past. 


" You don't understand," she said brokenly. 

" Perhaps not, it does n't matter now, only I 
won't have you worried." 

" No, it does n't matter now," she repeated. 
There was a note of heart-break in her voice. 
The room was quite dark, save for the firelight ; 
and they were silent. 

Dan spoke first. " I am afraid I worry you, 
Winifred," he said. " You seem to have notions 
about unpaid debts of gratitude, and other non- 
sense; besides which, I suppose my blindness 
troubles you somewhat, and makes the debt seem 
worse. If this is so, tell me plainly, it is the 
only charity I ask of you, and I '11 never come 
within the sound of your voice again." 

" You don't understand," she said, and paused ; 
when she spoke again, he had to listen for the 

" I feel I may never see you after to-night, Dan. 
Whether I fail or succeed to-morrow, I sail next 
month for Europe, and such home as I know must 
be there." 

There was no faltering in the low, even voice, 
but she paused now and again, and then he could 
hear the ashes fall from the dying fire. 

" Before we part I want to say one thing : there 
can be no such words as debt or gratitude between 


us, and pride is a small thing ; so I want you to 
know that there has never been another friend in 
my life than you, Dan, and this will still be true 
at the end." 

There was another silence, and the low voice 
dropped lower. 

" In the past you did me the honor to wish for 
my love ; it was, and will always be the honor of 
my life. I may have denied this love, but I knew 
it would be yours or no one's ; I knew that years 
ago, as I know it to-day, and as I shall know it in 
the hour of my death. I tell you this because, as 
the years go on, you will blame me unless you 
understand, and because I cannot bear that you 
should think I want to pay you, even if payment 
were necessary or possible." 

He did not answer her till he could do so 

"You are generous to speak these words," he 
said, " but don't for an instant imagine that I ex- 
pect you to make them good. You are still obsti- 
nate in denying yourself a heart ; I supposed you 
had learned better. As for thinking you cannot 
love any one, because you could not love me, that 
is nonsense, as you must find out some day." He 
paused, and then laughed a short, grim laugh. 
"You should have loved me, Winifred, and no 


other if I had not lost my sight and though 
it took a lifetime to make you," he said. 

Womanlike, she loved him better for his auda- 
cious strength than for a thousand speeches of 
humility and self-effacement. She could have 
laughed with him from pride ; but instead she 
cried within herself, " My God what I have 
lost ! " How had she lost it ? how was it possible 
that such love could have died? He had chosen 
that it should that was the only explanation 
he had chosen, and it had come to pass. 

Suddenly she spoke with passionate question- 

" Dan, how have you done it ? How have you 
overcome ? Do you can you believe for a single 
hour that what has come to you is best ? " 

He did not answer her at once. There was no 
bitterness, but an immense gravity in his face. 

"Yes I think I can believe that much," he 
said quietly. " Perhaps not best for me ; but best, 
and necessary to the ultimate intention." 

" I don't understand," she cried bitterly. 

" Neither do I, altogether ; we only see the half. 
But law and order are eternal verities. When a 
law is broken, a life must fall and break to restore 
the balance, for it seems to have been necessary 
since the beginning of the world that some should 


fall by the wayside that many may reach the 

" That is cruel," whispered Winifred ; " must we 
perish that others may live ? " 

" Better that, than perish to no purpose. 
What is troubling you, Winifred ? There is some- 
thing, I know." 

" Only the cruelty the cruelty of it." 

" Dear child I am so sorry," said Dan, "and 
you won't tell me what it is? But try not to 
worry. Some day you will learn that the ultimate 
meaning of it all is happiness through love ; and 
I don't believe any of us can sin or suffer so 
greatly that we shall not come into our own at the 

" Dan," she almost whispered, " do you ever 

" Why, no," he answered, " not as men mean 
prayer. It always seems an impertinence to divine 
reason. The only real prayer is in beholding and 

" I know I know ; but sometimes when we 
are weak, we cry out just as one does in bodily 
pain, without hoping for relief ; but just because 
we must. Have you ever prayed that way, Dan ? " 

" I am afraid I have cried out once or twice," 
he confessed. 



A log from the fire broke suddenly, and she saw 
his face turned towards her with something of 
wistfulness in it. 

" You say you are going away, Win ? It would 
be rather nice to see your face once before you go. 
You have changed I heard it first in your voice, 
and now I know it from your words. You are in 
trouble, and I suspect you of doing something fool- 
ish ; but how can I know without seeing you, and 
how can I scold you if I don't know ? " 

" I have n't been doing anything foolish, Dan, 
and I don't deserve to be scolded," she said, her 
lips tremulous with the pity his strength had al- 
most made her forget. She was looking at the 
deeply lined face, and realized that it was suddenly 
sad with a very dreadful sadness, and he had been 
speaking to her as he had done long ago when 
he loved her. Her heart gave a great leap, like 
some glad, half -tamed thing. Then she told her- 
self that she was mad to hope. 

" We are going to say good-by," she said 
aloud, " and won't you tell me how it is with you ? 
Your power your success it means something 
to you ? " 

" What it is worth no more, no less," he said. 

" You have not answered me, Dan." 

" You 're trying to make me whine, Winifred." 


She was silent ; then 

" There is one more thing " 

" A question ? " 

" Yes, the last I shall ever ask you." 

" Well, I am waiting." 

"You remember once, long ago, we stood by 
the stone wall near the apple-tree, and vowed to 
have no secrets from each other ever so long 
as we lived ? " 

" Yes ; the apple-tree died last year, and the boy 
who made the vow died two years ago. Evidently 
you 're afraid to ask that question." 

" No, I shall ask it. Tell me first why the apple- 
tree died?" 

" It was burned ; with the old barn." 

" So the old barn is burned." Winifred paused. 
" It is hard to believe, Dan." Her voice was 
suddenly low, and eager, and tremulous. " Dan, 
there was a place in the loft, where " 

" I know," said Dan. 

" Tell me now if you love Kate ? " 

"If I love Kate?" He repeated her words 
slowly with reproach. "If I love Kate ? 
Winifred! Winifred!" 

" Then no I hear Edith and Walter in the 
entry." Winifred spoke rapidly, with a strange 
ring to her voice. " After all, I think I will ask 


you one more question, and see you once again. 
Listen, Dan, and promise me quick before they 
come in. I sing to-morrow night you will be 
there to hear me ; and after, the next day, you 
will come here promise me you will come." 
" Why, yes, Win, if you wish, but what " 
" Never mind, the questions are all mine now. 
Remember you have promised." 

" Yes," said Dan, growing suddenly grave, and 
then Edith and Walter entered the room. 

Chapter XXII 


DURING the past few days many rumors had 
gone abroad concerning Winifred Meredith 
and her appearance before the New York public. 
Some people said that Daniel Howard had come on 
from Boston to marry her, and take her away on the 
eve of her performance. How her operatic contract 
had been disposed of no one could explain ; but it 
was argued that a woman in love disdains contracts, 
and believed among the ignorant that Daniel How- 
ard could do what he chose with contracts, legal or 
illegal. Other people claimed that Winifred had 
lost her voice in the New York climate, and that 
her name appeared on the bills merely to swell the 
impresario's bank account. Still more claimed for 
her a voice and talent such as had not been heard 
since the days of Patti, while others asserted that 
her voice amounted to little, but that her beauty 
was great, which accounted for a certain success 
with the European public. The only undisputed 
fact was that Winifred Meredith had no superior 


in birth or breeding, and the ticket agents were 
kept inconveniently busy for several days before 
the performance. 

The day itself was an anxious one for four 
people. Edith was especially troubled, for Wini- 
fred's voice had been uncertain all winter, and there 
were hundreds of people waiting to hear and con- 
demn her. Walter was anxious because Edith was, 
and Dan had been entertained by them both with 
stories of Winifred's shaken nervous system, and 
tortured with fear that she was overdoing, and 
would ruin her health by her profession. More 
nervous than all was Herr Grim, the impresario. 
He had staked a good deal on this new singer's 
success. If she failed, he would be out of pocket 
for extensive advertising outlays ; but if she suc- 
ceeded, if she sang as she had sung yesterday in 
the empty theatre, Herr Griin would be a made 
man. One of the best voices, the most perfect 
training, and the most magnetic genius in the op- 
eratic world would be his. 

He called to see Winifred that morning, to as- 
sure himself that all went well. " In ze name of 
ze Blessed Virgin, do not talk," he entreated her, 
" or laugh ; was it you laughing as I came in ?" 

Winifred said that it was, and she laughed again, 
an odd, joyous, reckless little laugh. " Ach ! mein 


Gott ! " you drive me on ze verge of ze distraction," 
cried Herr Griin. " It is better to talk even, zan 
to laugh and ze cold ! and ze snow outside ! 
are you sure you have not a hoarseness ; try a note 
for me." 

Winifred took a chest tone and swept upwards 
triumphantly to a high B. She held the note, 
played with it, swelled it, hit it again and again, 
trilled on it, and finally let it trail off into a tiny 
sound of shivering ecstasy. Then she turned away, 

" Himmel ! zat is enough enough ; more zan 
enough you will tire yourself for to-night ; but 
what a voice ! what a voice ! Zere is only one 
ozer in ze world who can do zat to-day. If you sing 
so to-night, you have ze world at your feet to-mor- 
row; and yet you talk you laugh, and lose your 
chance. But you will not dare Ach! you will 
not dare to go out in ze air wiz your mouf uncov- 
ered. Tell me you will not dare." 

"Do not worry about me, Herr Griin; every- 
thing is going well," said Winifred. 

But he shook his head as he left the room. " She 
would dare," he told himself. " Zere is a new look 
in her eyes to-day. When a woman looks so she 
dares anyzing ze heaven, or ze hell, or ze world 



Winifred alone was not anxious. There was a 
strange intensity about her this morning, and Edith 
wondered at her smiling eyes and grave lips. All 
winter Winifred had smiled with her lips only. Yet 
Edith did not wonder much, for Dan had been 
there the day before, and she had found Winifred 
and him sitting in the twilight when she came home 
to make tea for Walter, and Winifred's face had 
been almost beautiful with tenderness and radiance 
when she looked at Dan ; while Dan himself was 
graver than usual, but less stern, and his face 
turned toward the sound of Winifred wherever 
she moved, and great sadness and great love had 
been in that face for any one to see. 

Through this day of anxious waiting, Winifred 
told her nothing ; but she wore the look of one who 
holds a wonderful secret. At last the night came. 
The audience filled tiers and boxes, and overflowed 
into the aisles. It was a magnificent house. " The 
biggest one there has been for years," announced 
Edith, who slipped into Winifred's dressing-room 
to see that everything was well. 

" Oh ! Win, dear, I hope you 're going to sing 
your best." 

" Has Dan come ? " asked Winifred. 

" Yes, I passed him as I came along. He looks 
a good deal upset." 



" Tell him not to worry," she said. 

Edith left her standing in a blaze of lights, while 
two maids arranged the folds of her priestess robes ; 
but Winifred's face was pale and rapt, with smil- 
ing eyes and grave lips, which suggested the wind 
and starlight that were above the footlights and the 
people, their praise or their blame. 

" How does she say she feels ? " asked Walter, 
who met Edith on her return from the wings. 

" She said nothing, except to ask if Dan were 
here, and to send him word not to worry. Some- 
thing wonderful is going to happen, Walter ; wait 
and see." 

They stopped for a moment by Dan, who was 
sitting with Stirling in the first gallery. 

" She says you 're not to worry," Edith told him, 
with dancing eyes. 

" That 's all very well," complained Walter, 
" but how can she tell till she begins to sing ? 
This public life is a bad business. If she does n't 
succeed, Edith will be miserable for a week." 

Dan smiled. " If it were possible for Winifred 
to make more than one first appearance, I should 
fear for your life's happiness, Wally," he said. 

The house was full, and the audience were wait- 
ing, gossiping, and speculating the while on Wini- 
fred's probable looks and talent. Those who knew 


" Lakme," that most impetuous, seductive exotic of 
operas, wondered if any woman New England born 
and bred could be temperamentally equal to it. 
Artists questioned the power of so young a voice 
to sustain the passionate, soaring music. There 
were some present who remembered Winifred 
Meredith as a vigorous young hoyden with a mass 
of straight dark hair, and a glance and speech of 
singular directness ; these last waited her appear- 
ance as a prima donna with amused curiosity. 

The opening measures of the opera were listened 
to with indifference, and the tenor's singing of his 
beautiful solo roused the first enthusiasm. In the 
hush that followed his applause there floated out 
from behind the scenes some soprano notes, sweet, 
virginal, strangely thrilling, and the next moment- 
Lakm6 stepped into the garden, a priestess of the 
gods, childlike and queenlike. Robed in trailing 
folds of white, an arch of diamonds spanning her 
dark hair, she moved through the flowers, joyous 
and regal, with serene eyes and laughing lips, sing- 
ing as the first woman might have sung in the gar- 
den of Paradise before learning the lesson of sin 
and pain. Her voice recalled to world-worn men 
and women half forgotten memories of dawns when 
the world had been young for them, and some faded 
eyes were dim with tears for a childhood that had 


been sweet and true. The story moved quickly, 
borne by the impetuous music that was full of sen- 
suous, unexpected cadences, music that charmed 
and bewitched. Still a child of the gods, she 
played in the gorgeous garden till a man came, and 
looking into her eyes sang of joy and love, and she 
was priestess no longer ; but a woman with burn- 
ing lips and eyes. Her voice deepened, grew warm, 
luxurious, vibrant, tropical. 

" What an actress ! " said some. 

" What a singer ! " said others. 

" What a woman ! " said a few who were wise 
and knew that none can give what they have not. 

The ballet and gorgeous spectacle in the first 
part of the second act aroused scant interest in the 
audience, but when Lakme came forward to sing 
the famous air des cloches, men and women held 
their breath. This great aria demands all that a 
singer's throat can do. Winifred sang it with au- 
dacious ease. The house rang with magnetic, com- 
pelling notes, daring flights of execution, runs that 
tingled on the air like whiplashes, long-drawn tones 
in the mezza voce, notes of bewildering sweetness 
that floated and thrilled and brought tears of ex- 
quisite delight to the listeners' eyes ; yet never for 
an instant could it be forgotten that she was a 
woman who loved and feared, and was in mortal 


anguish while singing in the market-place to the 
betrayal of her lover. 

Then enthusiasm ran like wildfire through the 
audience, and was only held in check after the fall 
of the curtain by impatience for the next and last 
act. Here it is that, united at last, Lakme and 
Gerald sing together in the forest. 

Passionately tender, deliriously sweet, was her 
voice then; rapturous and triumphant, swinging 
and soaring above orchestra and tenor in a very 
ecstasy of love. Hearing her, sordid men remem- 
bered the face of the woman they had first loved. 
Hearing her, worldly women saw the ideals of their 
girlhood looking out of the past, with beautiful, 
reproachful eyes. Hearing her, both men and 
women with jaded senses knew only the pain and 
sweetness and passion of grand elemental emotions. 
Such knowledge is not bought every day. 

When the curtain had fallen on Lakme's swift 
despair and tragic end, there followed one of those 
moments which sweep away the self-control of a 
lifetime. To-morrow would be time enough for 
reason ; to-night was for splendid, delirious enthu- 
siasm. She had made them live to the uttermost 
limits of their beings, lived as some had never 
dreamed of living, and no demonstration was too 
insane for her. 



Again and again she came before the curtain, 
graceful and stately, but somewhat indifferent, to 
bow her acknowledgments, and every time she 
came the sound of voices was as the rush of a great 
tide, and the walls of the building shook. 

Few had time to notice the one man among them 
who sat silent and bowed in his chair. 

Dan heard her that night Dan, whose senses 
were not jaded, who did not need to recall the face 
of the woman he had first loved, for the first wo- 
man had been the last. Hearing her he knew what 
he had always felt that the wild, strong, passion- 
ate heart of her was as his own, that she was his by 
all laws human and divine. And more than this, 
Dan knew with a fierce, suffocating, almost mad- 
dening joy, that Winifred loved him. It was to 
him that she had sung, and to-morrow she would 
tell him of her love. 

By the sounds of her triumph he guessed when 
she came before the lights, and once he raised his 
head, and turned his storm-beaten face toward her, 
as if he could see. There was only one word for 
him: renunciation. The head bowed again, and 
the broad shoulders bent lower. 

Stirling touched his arm. " They are beginning 
to go," he said timidly. 

Dan did not move. 



" Has she come for the last time ? " he asked. 

Then Dan lifted his powerful frame slowly, as if 
under a burden, and put his hand out to the boy. 
" We will go," he said. 

Chapter XXIII 


IT was the next day, and Edith looked at her 
sister with awe. 

" Winifred, it was glorious ! " 

Winifred leaned her head on her hand ; she was 
pale and oddly still. Only her eyes showed life 
life burning, expectant, radiant. 

" It was glorious ! You have conquered, Win. 
You are a great artist, and the world knows it." 

Winifred smiled. A London impresario had 
just called with a handsome offer, humbly proffered, 
for an engagement at Covent Garden. On the 
table lay a contract awaiting her signature, which 
assured her a little fortune for singing in ten per- 
formances to be given in New York during what 
remained of the season. The signature was with- 

" Herr Griin's offer is a splendid one," continued 
Edith. " Why don't you sign it ? " 

Winifred took the precious document and tore 


it across the middle. Then she folded it deliber- 
ately and tore it again. 

" Winifred, you are crazy ! Why, Win ! " 

Winifred rose and dropped the fragments into 
the fire. Then she laughed, softly, and recklessly, 
and gladly. 

Edith went out in the early afternoon, and Win- 
ifred waited for Dan. He had promised he 
would come. She leaned her elbows on the mantel- 
piece and watched the clock. It seemed that the 
hands scarcely moved, but suddenly she saw an 
hour had gone. " If Dan did not come to-day 
if he had gone without seeing her," she caught her 
throat fiercely, and then somehow Dan was in the 
room. Winifred could never remember how he 
came there, for her nerves were strained to the 
breaking point. 

" I thought you were not coming," she said 

" I promised," he answered. His face was drawn 
and gray, and very stern. He had fought the 
night through with hungry devils, and with the 
higher longings of his being which were marshaled 
against the absolute, and clamoring for this woman ; 
but when the day came he had conquered. 

" You are late, Dan, and I have so much to tell 


you," she said with a strange, sweet thrill in her 

He did not answer her ; but sat with his elbow 
on the table, and his face shaded by his hand. 

Winifred was white, with burning eyes. He 
heard her near him, he heard her catch her breath 
in the silence then he heard her voice, low and 
clear. " Do you love me still, Dan ? " she asked 

" Yes, Winifred, I love you for all time," he an- 
swered with grave calm, " but we will talk of some- 
thing else to-day." 

" I brought you here for one thing," she said. 

He knew he could not keep her from speaking, 
so he waited motionless. 

" I love you, Dan I love you." 

The hand that hid his face shook a little ; but 
his deep voice was steady, and tender beyond all 

" My child," he said, " you do not know what 
you are saying." 

" I know nothing else in all the world, Dan." 

" You don't understand," he said. " You have 
a wonderful and glorious life before you and I 
am blind, Winifred." Her hand stole into his. 

" Do you think I love you less well for that? " 

" I could have made you happy once," he con- 


tinued, " but now I am worthless. To take your 
life would be a crime." 

But she gave a laugh with a little sob in it. " I 
am afraid you must, Dan ; there is nothing in the 
world for me but you, and so as you are re- 
sponsible for the loss of the world, don't you think 
don't you think it 's your duty as an honorable 
man to make the loss good to me ? You don't 
know how well I love you. You are going to make 
me tell you and say the words a woman should leave 
to a man. Is it quite generous of you, dear? " 

He bent his head, and she felt his lips tremble on 
her hand. 

" I cannot do it," he said hoarsely. " God help 
me ! I cannot take the sacrifice." 

" Sacrifice ! where is the sacrifice ? I love you, 
Dan, I love you, I say, and you do not believe it 
yet ? Listen to me, Dan. You think I am offer- 
ing you a slight thing born of pity, generosity, and 
some affection, which shows how little you know 
me. You think that because you are blind, you 
have less right than other men to hold a woman's 
love, which shows how little you know a woman's 
heart. Ah, Dan," leaning on the table she bent 
over his bowed head with yearning tenderness 
" can't you understand that just because you have 
not all most men have, I love you the more ? Can't 


you understand that for every lost happiness of 
yours I give you more love, and for every bitter 
moment more love? Dear, if it had been I in- 
stead of you that had been blind, would you have 
shrunk from me loved me less ? " 

" If it had been you if it had been you 
hush, Winifred, don't say the words." He spoke 

"Yes, if it had been I instead of you, what 
would you have done ? Answer me quickly, Dan." 

He stretched out his hands with a passionate 

"I should have taken you into my arms and 
never let you out of them till death came between 

She gave a little cry that was half a sob. 

" I knew it ! I knew it ! It is no use for you 
to turn your head away from me now." Kneeling 
beside him she spoke swiftly. " Listen to me, Dan. 
There has never been any one in the world for me 
but you, neither mother nor father nor brother 
nor friend ; but I did not understand. I thought 
I had some power greater than the power of loving 
you ; I thought the world could give me some honor 
greater than the honor of being loved by you. I 
thought life could give me some happiness greater 
than the happiness of being your wife. When I 


heard what had come to you oh, my love " 
Her voice broke ; and then she went on with low- 
toned passionate tenderness. " It was the know- 
ledge of your loss, dear, which showed me my gain. 
I knew then that I loved you, had always loved 
you, should always love you ; that there could never 
be honor nor power nor happiness apart from you. 
Dear, how long are you going to let me do the 
suing ? Dan listen, Dan how often must I 
say the words ? I love you, dear I love you 
I love " 

With a great sob he swept her into his arms, 
silenced her lips with his kisses, drowned her 
thoughts, her consciousness almost, in the storm of 
his love, love that had been chained and starved 
and denied during all the years of his youth and 
early manhood, love that had lost joy and hope, but 
would not falter nor turn pale, love that had come 
into its own at last. Finally she lay passive and 
breathless in his arms, while he murmured ten- 
der, incoherent sentences over her, kissed her hair, 
her eyes, her lips, and the beatings of their wild, 
powerful hearts grew quieter. Once she put up 
her hands with a little sob and touched his eyes, but 
he drew the hands down and laughed with his lips 
against her fingers. 

" Now that I have the right to hold them always 


here, I do not need to see that the sun shines," he 
said. " But can I make you happy ? " 

" That depends upon how well you are going to 
love me." 

" You will go on with your career, Winifred ? " 


"But Winifred" 

" It would take me away from you." 

Dan began to show signs of combativeness. " I 
cannot have you give that up," he said ; " it is your 
life work." 

" Dear, don't you know yet how well I love 
you ? " 

He was silent, and Winifred had withdrawn her- 
self from him. 

" Don't you want to make me happy, Dan ? " 

" God knows I do. Where are you, Winifred ? " 

"Then never try to send me away from you." 

" Let it settle itself then since you say so. 
But where are you Win ? Come nearer nearer 
yet. Remember I can't see you, dear, and deserve 
more privileges than most lovers." 

Winifred slipped to her knees beside him and 
he touched her hair. 

" Do you twist it in the same coil I used to know ? 
No, don't tell me I want to find it all out for 


myself. Here is the parting ; I remember how I 
used to love the silver line of it, and here are 
the smooth thick braids just the same. You have 
n't lost that one curl behind your left ear, have 
you ? No, here it is and on your forehead there 
used to be a place yes, I have it where the 
hair would not lie smoothly. It is better to kiss 
it so, and so, than be able to see it with the room 
between. I used to love it for breaking the line 
that might have been too severe over eyes less true 
and fine than yours." 

He took her face between his hands and turned 
it up towards his own as if to look. " How many 
years of life would it be worth to see your eyes 
with love in them," he said. 

She gave a little pitying cry and slipping her 
hands round his neck drew his head down to her 

" Dearest, tell me can I ever make up for the 
least part of your loss ? " 

" Where is your hand, love ? Now you make up 
for all, save for not seeing your face. When will 
you marry me, Winifred ? On what day, and 
hour, and minute ? " 

" On the one you say." 

" To-morrow ? " 



" To-morrow ! Is n't that too soon ? " 

" It is ten years too late." 

In a little while she was laughing with her face 
against his shoulder. 

" Dear after all these years, are you not 
ashamed to have left me to do the final wooing?" 

EUctrotyped and printed by H. O. Hottghton & Co. 
Cambridge, fifass., U.S. A. 


Los Angeles 
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